Ethical Decisions Name of Institution Date Ethical Decisions Parental Refusal of Life-Saving Care for a Minor Child Introduction The principle of parental refusal of life-saving care for a minor child is one of the most recurrent in many hospitals across the world compared to other current ethical health care issues…
Due to the nature of this circumstance, various ethical issues usually tend to arise. The major ethical issues that usually arise include: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Minors are considered not be competent enough to consent to treatment. A proxy with parental responsibility is expected to make decisions which are deemed to be in the best interests of the minor especially in life-saving care (Gaudine, et al., 2011). However, if it is not deemed to be so, the decision made by the proxy can be overruled by the court. The court can also consent on the child’s behalf and can overrule the refusal by the parent to consent to life-saving care. This is evidenced by the overruling of cases over Jehovah’s Witnesses believers refusal to consent to life saving blood transfusion. Whereas this seems to be against certain ethical principles, they are deemed to be within these principles in some respect (Clark, Cott, and Drinka, 2007). It is against this background that this paper will seek to examine and evaluate how each of the four major ethical principles can be applied to this issue. Autonomy The autonomy principle is one of the guiding medical ethics principles that mean that patients have the right to choose what is done to their respective bodies or that of the people they have responsibility over (Clark, Cott, and Drinka, 2007). ...
to try and convince the judge that the court should take temporary child custody and appoint a guardian so as to allow the life-saving treatment to be undertaken on the child (Gaudine et al, 2011). This is where the court consent applies on the child. In most cases, the parents who refuse life-saving care for a minor child usually do so for religious reasons as they refuse the fairly standard medical treatment. A good and most common example is that of the Jehovah Witness members refusing blood transfusion of their family members. Nonetheless, should parents allow the treatment of their children even when the treatment seems to be high-risk and complicated one? This ethical principle asks the question of whether the doctors should take the parents who think that the life-saving care is high-risk and complicated (Beauchamp and Childress, 2001). Beneficence This ethical principle states that whatever is done should, before all else, of benefit to the patient. The principle requires that those with the responsibility over the patient including the parent of minors and the doctors should take actions that benefit the patient, and not to the detriment of the patient (Clark, Cott, and Drinka, 2007). While obviously it appears that one cannot do anything that does not help the patient, people are sometimes tempted to do things, when asked by other physicians or families that are of no or of marginal benefit to patients. For example, doing a test or surgery that is unlikely to help the patient. In the case of parental refusal of life-saving care for a minor child, it raises the question of whether such a refusal is deemed to benefit the minor child or not. If such a refusal will benefit the child then the doctors may consider it. However, in most cases, parental refusal is ...
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