Pediatric Bioethics Conference

2007 Pediatric Bioethics Conference

Current Controversies: Navigating Conflicts When Parents and Providers Disagree About Medical Care

The Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics hosted its third conference on pediatric bioethics on July 13 and 14, 2007, in Seattle, Washington.

The conference attracted more than 200 attendees from the United States, Canada and Australia who gathered to discuss the ethical issue related to disagreements between parents and providers about medical care.

Conference Introduction

Parents and caretakers of children may not always agree with the medical care recommended by their healthcare providers.

In some cases, parents may request medical tests or treatments that healthcare providers do not think they should provide. In other cases, parents may refuse medical care that providers think is important for the well-being of the child.

These conflicts may reflect differing opinions about how to weigh the benefits and burdens of certain medical interventions. They may also reflect misunderstandings, cultural and religious differences and a lack of trust in the healthcare providers.

These disagreements raise many important ethical questions about how to navigate situations in which conflict develops:

  • When can healthcare providers refuse to provide medical care that a parent requests?
  • Can physicians ever withdraw life-sustaining treatment over the objections of a parent?
  • How much freedom should parents have to refuse medical tests or treatments for a child?
  • Does it matter if a parent's objections to recommended therapy have a religious or cultural basis?
  • What strategies might prove effective in resolving conflicts that arise over the clinical care of children?

In July 2007, leaders in the field of pediatric bioethics discussed these issues in Seattle, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound. Below you will find the archived webcast presentations and more, so you can join in the continued exploration of these ethical questions.

2007 Pediatric Bioethics Conference Presentations

Day 1

Welcome and introduction  

Parental Requests for "Futile" Treatment 
Presented by Norman Fost, MD, MPH

Physician Refusal to Provide Life-Prolonging Medical Interventions 
Presented by John J. Paris, SJ, PhD

Show Me the Money: Financial Considerations in Responding to Parental Wishes 
Benjamin S. Wilfond, MD
Watch video

Should Developmentally Delayed Children Be Listed for Solid Organ Transplants? 
David Magnus, PhD
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Panel and questions 
Norman Fost, John J. Paris, Benjamin S. Wilfond, David Magnus

Parents as Living Donors for Their Children: Who Decides the Permissible Degree of Risks? And What Criteria Do They Use? 
Presented by Lainie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD

The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pediatric Patients: When Accommodation Becomes a Problem 
Presented by Christine Harrison, PhD

Using Children as a Means to a Sibling's Health: Ethical Concerns and Justifications for Pediatric Sibling Transplants 
Presented by Rebecca Pentz, PhD

Platform presentations of selected submitted abstracts  

Futility, State Law and the Fate of Children 
Mary Anderlik Majumder, JD, PhD

Responding to Parental Requests for a Caregiver of a Different Race or Ethnicity 
Kyle Anstey, PhD

Nobody Likes Premies 
Annie Janvier, PhD, FRCPC

Parental Provider Conflict and Calling in the Law…Trump or Wild Card? 
Kellie Lang, JD

Day 2

Welcome and introduction  

Refusals in Pediatrics 
Presented by Lainie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD
Watch video

Christian Science and the Medical Care of Children 
Norman Fost, MD, MPH

Parental Discretion in Refusal of Treatment for Newborns 
John J. Paris, SJ, PhD
Watch video  

Panel and questions 
Lainie Friedman Ross, Norman Fost, John J. Paris

Understanding Differences in Conflicts Surrounding the Medical Care of Children 
Presented by Douglas S. Diekema, MD, MPH
Watch video

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