When doctors and patients disagree: thinking through the ethics


A lunchtime meeting on July 12th was well attended and led to some interesting discussion: SEE MORE

A recent case in WA has drawn pubic attention to a rare but difficult ethical challenge in paediatric health care: parents’ refusal of medically recommended for their child in a life- threatening situation. More broadly, parents and doctors can disagree in a range of situations – about diagnostic tests, management of chronic conditions, experimental therapies, continuation of ventilation in a child with a neuro-degenerative condition, to name just some. All of these raise the ethical question of when and to what extent doctors should do what parents want, or should seek to go against parent’s wishes. In this presentation, we will describe and discuss the Zone of Parental Discretion (ZPD), an ethical tool for dealing with entrenched disagreements between parents and doctors. We will use the ZPD to ethically analyse some cases, and invite your input into the discussion.

Lyn GillamProf Lynn Gillam is a clinical ethicist, and Academic Director of the Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Lynn has been actively involved in paediatric clinical ethics case consultation for over 10 years, and has written widely in the field.





Rosalind McDougallDr Rosalind McDougall (left) is an ethicist at the Children’s Bioethics Centre, Royal Children’s
Hospital, and the Centre for Health Equity, University of Melbourne. She has published widely
in clinical ethics and reproductive ethics. Her current research project focuses on ethical issues when doctors and parents have conflicting views about a child’s medical treatment.






Comments are closed.

Previous post Next post