The bioethical issues that arise in pediatrics are unique and
complicated. Young children cannot participate in their own
health care decisions. They cannot consent to biomedical research.
Thus, the reliance upon autonomy that drives so many bioethical
paradigms for competent adults are simply inapplicable.
Sometimes, we think of parents as the surrogate decision makers
for the child. This is partially true. But parents cannot be as
idiosyncratic in the decisions that they make for their children as
they could be for themselves. They, like doctors, are held to an
objective standard - they must act in a way that promotes the
Pediatric bioethics becomes even more complicated if we consider
the fetus as a patient or a research subject. Such considerations
become unavoidable as our ability to diagnose fetal disease
improves. many centers are now starting "Fetal medicine"
There have been a number of important books about issues in
pediatric bioethics, and a number of websites with resources on
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