Considerations in the Care of Pediatric Patient Adults who possess decisionmaking capacity, or those who have not been determined to be legally incompetent, can make their own health care choices. With some caveats, the age of consent in this country is 18 years. Where does that leave children? By definition, children cannot legally be their own ... Article
Article  |   October 1998
Considerations in the Care of Pediatric Patient
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  • Copyright © 1998 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Ethical Dilemmas
Article   |   October 1998
Considerations in the Care of Pediatric Patient
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 1998, Vol. 7, 9-10. doi:10.1044/sasd7.3.9
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 1998, Vol. 7, 9-10. doi:10.1044/sasd7.3.9
Adults who possess decisionmaking capacity, or those who have not been determined to be legally incompetent, can make their own health care choices. With some caveats, the age of consent in this country is 18 years. Where does that leave children? By definition, children cannot legally be their own decision-makers. The default surrogates are the child's parents or legal guardian.
There is an operative assumption that most parents will make decisions that is in the best interest of their child. Ethical dilemmas may arise when clinicians have value conflicts with the choices parents make on their child's behalf. For example, some parents refuse medical care for their children based on religious belief and preference. Years of adjudication has shaped the thinking that parents should have great flexibility in raising their children; however, they should not be allowed to put their children in danger, especially when they refuse treatment for a life threatening condition that is easily reversible (e.g., instances when parents refuse antibiotics for treatable infection).
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