Dr. Liben credits his initial venture into pediatric palliative care to his experiences of witnessing "unnecessary suffering" during his career in pediatric critical care. Dr. Liben states that he was attracted to how much "promise" that pediatric palliative care held in addressing more than just the medical needs of children and their families. He then recalls experiences he had with international leaders in the emerging field of pediatric palliative care. Dr. Liben describes how the field has evolved to be more patient- and family-centric while spanning across the intersections of pain management, chronic care, and complex care. Dr. Liben also discusses how he managed his team and developed integration strategies to become an established service in the hospital space. He recounts some of the initial challenges of educating other clinicians on what pediatric palliative care could bring to a health care team. He also reviews how much adult palliative and adult hospice have influenced and nurtured the pediatric care fields. Dr. Liben then discusses his work in medical mindfulness with an emphasis on human connections and how he has experienced the "ultimate win-win," with both healthcare teams and patients being happy with the connections and relationships forged. Dr. Liben concludes with his vision for current pediatric palliative care specialists to "teach ourselves out of a job," and how he strives to cultivate the next generation of physicians in all specialties to have a holistic patient-first approach that incorporates his field's mindfulness approach to care for more than just the physical, but also the "logical, spiritual, [and] emotional."
Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
"Stephen Liben Oral History." (2019). OH154-S22-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis.