Newly Published
Mind to Mind  |   January 2019
Difficult Social Circumstances
Author Notes
  • From the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland. suzanne.crowe@olchc.ie
  • Accepted for publication November 27, 2018.
    Accepted for publication November 27, 2018.×
Article Information
Mind to Mind
Mind to Mind   |   January 2019
Difficult Social Circumstances
Anesthesiology Newly Published on January 22, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002592
Anesthesiology Newly Published on January 22, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002592
Some children and infants admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit are described by the admitting nurse and doctor as having “difficult social circumstances.”  The phrase gets under my skin every time I hear it. What are the motives for describing a chaotic or impoverished life with this euphemism? Wherever you work, a similar phrase is bound to be used for patients who appear on your operating list or who are admitted to the emergency department or pediatric intensive care unit. These are the children with the electrocardiogram dots still stuck onto their chest from a procedure a month ago, the infants who had their surgery postponed in the past because their parents forgot the appointment, or the toddler with noticeable dental caries when you perform laryngoscopy.