I was the next neonatologist to speak with the family after a couple of hours and their hostility was almost palpable when I entered the room with the nurse manager to meet them. We had several more conversations over the next two days; their anger resolved and finally they agreed to remove life support. The baby died shortly thereafter.
It turned out that the family had been told that the child likely had a fatal disease several weeks before by a perinatologist, a specialist in high risk pregnancies. I was a little annoyed when I heard that (although you feel guilty being annoyed at a family who just lost a child). Why had they blasted my partner so, when they had been told many weeks ago of the likely course of this baby? They told me they had chosen to not believe the perinatologist and hope for the best.
In retrospect, I can see they were going through the five stages of grieving that Kubler-Ross noted: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They just had a very long and effective denial phase, and reached the anger stage when my partner reaffirmed the bad news. My partner is excellent with parents; he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I've seen this sort of thing happen before, although usually the family isn't so hard on the doctor. It's appropriate that it takes a little while for the parents to accept that they have to stop life support for their child. It just would have been easier if at least some of that adjustment period had occured during the pregnancy, rather than afterwards.