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Children's Participation and Decision-Making in Medical Matters

image of Children's Participation and Decision-Making in Medical Matters

According to international and national agreements and conventions children have a right to express their views in all matters affecting them. However it is one thing to state that children have a right to express their views and another to stipulate to what extent they have a right to participate in decision-making about their medical treatment, participation in medical research or in clinical trials. At the conference Children’s Participation and Decision-making in Medical Matters, organized 2012 by the Nordic Committee on Bioethics, various participants discussed how this right should be interpreted and applied in different contexts and situations. This conference summary highlights the main themes of the conference.

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Introduction

According to international and national agreements and conventions, children have the right to express their views in all matters affecting them. This obligates parents, medical personnel and other responsible adults who make medical decisions that affect a child to consider the child's opinion. Yet, in some instances a child's right to be consulted may conflict with other interests or priorities. The result may be that the child's right to express its views is insufficiently considered in medical treatment or in research. For instance, concerns of risk, burden and safety raises many questions regarding the recruitment and participation of children in clinical trials, In medical treatment, questions may arise regarding who should make decisions on behalf of children, and in which ways children's opinions should be considered.

English

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