Treatment Decision Making Guide
Step 9 – Manage Disagreement and Conflict
Retinoblastoma often demands many complex decisions throughout treatment. Parents may disagree with one another, with other relatives, and/or with a doctor or the entire medical team about the best course of action for their child. Always ask for help if this happens, so you can navigate the discussion as smoothly as possible.
Most hospitals treating children with cancer have an ethics panel and patient and family liaison professionals who can guide and support you through decision-making and conflict resolution. Some hospital chaplains are also trained to assist both families and professionals through this process.
It may be helpful to attend key discussions with an objective relative or friend, or patient advocate from a childhood cancer organization.
A second opinion may be helpful at this time. Parents may hesitate to seek second opinions for fear of creating further conflict. Always explain concerns to your child’s doctors, and ask for their support and cooperation. A good doctor will embrace your request. If the doctor is unsupportive, consider whether they are the right person to treat your child’s cancer.
Rarely, doctors may seek legal and child protection guidance if they feel the child’s welfare is at serious and undue risk. Always prioritise your child’s safety, wellbeing, and real needs when making your decisions.