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Involving parents in paediatric clinical ethics committee deliberations: a current controversy

Brierley, J; Archard, D; Cave, E

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Authors

J Brierley

D Archard



Abstract

In cases where the best interests of the child are disputed or finely balanced, Clinical Ethics Committees (CECs) can provide a valuable source of advice to clinicians and Trusts on the pertinent ethical dimensions. Recent judicial cases have criticised the lack of formalised guidance and inconsistency in the involvement of parents in CEC deliberations. In Manchester University NHS FT v Verden [2022], Arbuthnot J set out important procedural guidance as to how parental involvement in CEC deliberations might be managed. She also confirmed substantive guidance on the role of parental views in determining the child’s best interests. We agree that it is good practice to ensure that the patient voice is heard in ethics processes, but how that is achieved is controversial. Surely it is best that what matters most to a patient and their family, whether facts or values, is conveyed directly to those considering the moral issues involved, rather than via a prism of another party. The approach suggested in the Verden case has much in common with the process utilised by our CEC. In this article, we commend Arbuthnot J’s approach, provide an example of its effective operation and consider what it might mean for ethics processes.

Citation

Brierley, J., Archard, D., & Cave, E. (2023). Involving parents in paediatric clinical ethics committee deliberations: a current controversy. Journal of Medical Ethics, 49(11), 733-736. https://doi.org/10.1136/jme-2022-108460

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 20, 2022
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Journal of Medical Ethics
Print ISSN 0306-6800
Electronic ISSN 1473-4257
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 11
Pages 733-736
DOI https://doi.org/10.1136/jme-2022-108460
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1191905

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