Medical Decision Making for Medically Complex Children in Foster Care:  Who Knows the Child’s Best Interests?

 

Rebecca R. Seltzer, Rachel A.B. Dodge,  and Renee D. Boss, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29, no. 2 (Summer):

139-44.                                

 

Approximately one in 10 children in foster care are medically complex and require intensive medical supervision, frequent hospitalization, and difficult medical decision making. Some of these children are in foster care because their parents cannot care for their medical needs; other parents are responsible for their child’s medical needs due to abuse or neglect. In either case, there can be uncertainty about the role that a child’s biological parents should play in making serious medical decisions. Here we highlight some of the ethical challenges inherent in making these decisions for children in foster care, as seen through the lenses of a child welfare provider, an inpatient care physician, and a primary care pediatrician.

 

 

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