Module 3: Analyzing Ethical
Challenges in Pediatric
End-of-life Decision Making
An Ethical and Legal Framework for
Caring for Children with Life-Threatening Conditions
This lecture and PowerPoint presentation provides a broad aerial
view of national ethical and legal guidelines pertaining to decisions
about medical use of life-sustaining technologies in pediatrics.
It introduces many topics handled in greater depth in the subsequent
small group seminars that make up the remainder of this module.
As a consequence of attending this lecture, participants will:
- Recognize that in pediatrics, decisions about medical
use of life-sustaining treatment must be based on the “best
interest” of the child.
- Acknowledge that caring individuals may differ in their
assessment of what is in the child’s best interest, because
such assessments are not simply matters of fact, but opinions
based on personal and cultural values.
- Recognize that all life-sustaining medical technologies,
including medically provided nutrition and hydration, should be
assessed in terms of the likely benefits and burdens they will
bring to the child.
- Acknowledge need to honor parental values and preferences,
even if they differ from one’s own, when benefits of a proposed
treatment are marginal or uncertain.
- Identify the role that ethics consultation can play in
- Seek to engage children and adolescents in their treatment
and decision making to the extent possible, given their developmental
- Demonstrate a commitment to providing effective relief
of pain and discomfort.
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[Go to Activity 3]
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[Go to Activity 5]