Ethics and the child in society

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Ethics and the child in society


There are many situations in paediatric medicine which involve ethical questions. Ethics are the moral values that people hold which enable them to understand whether a judgement is right or wrong. These values usually start to develop from the early experiences of childhood and continue to develop right through into adult years. The values involve a sense of consideration for others, the law, personal conscience, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and personal experience.



Cornerstones of Medical Ethics



  • Autonomy (self-determination)
  • Beneficence (doing good)
  • Non-malificence (not doing harm)
  • Justice (fairness and equality)


Important Concepts that Guide Ethical Decisions in Critical Care



  • Human rights—the right to life: There are different views on whether life must always be sustained in all circumstances but there is a general view that life must be respected and not harmed. There are some situations where the vast majority of people would agree that prolonging life at all costs is wrong (such as following diagnosis of brain death) and the law will support a decision to stop treatment and allow death to occur.
  • Acts of commission and omission: The difference between a decision that actively ends life and a decision to withhold or discontinue intervention that is prolonging life
  • Quality of life: Most people believe this is important and is significantly impaired if:

    • life is dependent on invasive medical support
    • there is chronic distress
    • there is severe impairment of consciousness.
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Jul 2, 2016 | Posted by in PEDIATRICS | Comments Off on Ethics and the child in society
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