Features  |   November 2018
The Ethics of Pediatric Informed Consent
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Pediatric Anesthesia / Features
Features   |   November 2018
The Ethics of Pediatric Informed Consent
ASA Monitor 11 2018, Vol.82, 10-13.
ASA Monitor 11 2018, Vol.82, 10-13.
This article is excerpted in part from “Fundamentals of the Pediatric Informed Consent Process.”1 
The process of obtaining informed consent for a pediatric patient is distinctly different from the adult patient. Competent patients (i.e., adults with decision-making capacity) act autonomously in the process of providing an informed consent. However, the pediatric patient is presumed to lack competence because they lack either the age of majority, decision-making capacity or both. In these cases, the physician is seeking permission, as informed consent, from the parent(s) or guardian to provide treatment; hence, the word “parent(s)” is used interchangeably with “legal guardian.” It is both ethically and legally presumed (and overwhelmingly true) that parents are invested into making decisions consistent with their child’s best interest. As such, parents are given significant latitude when making decisions for their child; boundaries for this latitude arise when the well-being of the child is at significant risk.
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