Involving children in clinical decision-making: Why it matters and how best to do it


This plenary session is named in honour of the recent Clinical Director of the Centre for Bioethics, A/Prof Jill Sewell. Professor Douglas Diekema will open the National Paediatric Bioethics Conference by considering the ethical underpinning of our conference theme, ‘Deciding with Children’. Deciding with Children is more than a vague abstraction or aspirational goal of children’s healthcare workers. Prof Diekema will demonstrate that Deciding with Children matters to the well-being of children and is a vital part of healthcare delivery. He will build on this foundation, using his clinical experience, to consider how best to authentically involve children in healthcare decisions.



Dr. Douglas Diekema is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine with adjunct appointments in the Departments of Bioethics & Humanities and Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and the Department of Health Services in the School of Public Health.  He is also an attending physician in the emergency department at Seattle Children’s Hospital and serves as Director of Education for the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. He has been a member of the Seattle Children’s Hospital ethics committee since 1991, served as an ethics consultant for 26 years, has been chairperson of the institutional review board since 2000, and founded the Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s in 2004. He is past-Chair of the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics and currently serves on the Board of the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities and as Chair of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Human Subjects Protections (SACHRP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Diekema is the author of numerous scholarly publications in medical ethics and pediatric emergency medicine and an editor of Clinical Ethics in Pediatrics: A Case-based Textbook. He is an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center and was honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the 2014 recipient of the William G. Bartholome Award for Ethical Excellence.


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