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Many ethicists consult on pediatric cases only rarely. A recent paper addressed some unique considerations.1
“We wanted to highlight some features, both theoretical and practical, that those practicing in the pediatric setting should be aware of,” says Caroline A. Buchanan, PhD, HEC-C, an assistant professor in the program for bioethics and a member of the hospital ethics committee at University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
The authors saw a need for standardization in both education and training for pediatric ethics consultants. “Certain features of pediatric units may differ from adult ones,” Buchanan observes. The paper covers some unique issues that arise during pediatric consults. These include pediatric assent, theories of parental authority, and family-centered care for pediatric patients.
The process of pediatric ethics consultation also is somewhat different. Here are some examples:
“Others may have the threat of long-term disability or chronic complications, or permanent effects on the patient’s ability to reproduce or engage in other aspects of their later life,” Buchanan adds.
Financial Disclosure: Physician Editor Arthur R. Derse, MD, JD, Nurse Planner Susan Solverson, RN, BSN, CMSRN, Editor Jonathan Springston, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Editorial Group Manager Leslie Coplin, Accreditations Manager Amy M. Johnson, MSN, RN, CPN, and Author Stacey Kusterbeck report no consultant, stockholder, speakers’ bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.