Case-Based Teaching Guide: Religious, Cultural and Philosophical Objections to Medical Care

Responding to parents' refusal of medical care based on religious, cultural or ethical considerations presents complex challenges. Physicians must balance respect for the parents' wishes and legal rights with the child's well-being. What are the limitations on parents' right to refuse treatment for a child? What are the steps a physician must take in order to justify involving state agencies to compel treatment? How do you resolve conflicts between the parents' values and those of the medical profession?

These materials explore the ethical issues that arise when the values of parents and healthcare providers come into conflict over care decisions. Participants will be presented with the components of informed consent or permission, and understand the limitations of parents' rights to refuse treatment for a child. Participants will discuss the steps to take in order to justify involving state agencies to compel treatment for a child, and identify strategies to resolve conflicts between the values of a parent and the medical profession.

Read the Instructor's Guide or the Student's Guide.

This instructor's guide was developed by Douglas S. Diekema, MD, MPH, director of education, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

In addition to the copyright notice set forth in the link below, permission to display, cache and print unlimited copies of the Case-Based Teaching Guides referred to on this page is hereby granted, solely for educational purposes, without charge (other than charges solely to cover the costs of copying), and without alteration of the Materials in any way.

1. Instructor's Guide 2. Student's Guide 3. Case Discussion