From Disease's Treatment to Global Care of the Child with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia


  • Girolamo Digilio Pediatric Clinic of the "La Sapienza" University of Rome, I
  • Marina Digilio Pediatric Clinic of the "La Sapienza" University of Rome, I


Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia of Childhood, History of chemotherapy, Bioethics , Psycho-emotive aspects


The history of the treatment of childhood acute leukemia is a meaningful model of the ethical, bioethical and organizational implications of the technical progress in medicine. This experience provides indications and very useful tools to face the main topics of modern medicine: the risk of intense medicalization to the detriment of the quality of the care, the importance of psycho-emotive, ethical and spiritual aspects in the doctorpatient relationship, etc.. The Authors report the difficulties and progresses until and after the first cures of children with leukemia in the Pediatric Clinic of the University “La Sapienza” of Rome (1964), the new features of treated leukemia (the “real disease of cured child”) and the psycho-emotive involvement of the pediatric staff (a “parallel disease”). The necessity of a continuous activity aimed at the adaptation of services to scientific and medical progress and to the necessity of humanization of procedures and environment is stressed.