Reflections on Ethics and Humanity in Pediatric Neurology: the Value of Recognizing Ethical Issues in Common Clinical Practice
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Our goals in this reflection are to (i) identify the ethical dimensions inherent in any clinical encounter and (ii) bring to the forefront of our pediatric neurology practice the myriad of opportunities to explore and learn from these ethical questions. We highlight specifically Beauchamp and Childress's principles of biomedical ethics. We use the terms ethics in common clinical practice and an ethical lens to remind people of the ubiquity of ethical situations and the usefulness of using existing ethical principles to analyze and resolve difficult situations in clinical practice. We start with a few common situations with which many of us tend to struggle. We describe what we understand as ethics and how and why developments in technology, novel potential interventions, policies, and societal perspectives challenge us to think about and debate ethical issues. Individual patients are not a singular population; each patient has their own unique life situations, culture, goals, and expectations that need to be considered with a good dose of humanity and humility. We believe that using an ethical lens-by which we mean making an explicit effort to identify and consider these issues openly-will help us to achieve this goal in practice, education, and research.
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