‘Who Ya Gonna Call …?’ Ethical and legal dilemmas in specialist children centres and district general hospitals

Clinical Ethics 17 (4):415-424 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The field of Paediatric Bioethics, or ethical issues applied to children's healthcare, is relatively new but has recently gained an increased professional and public profile. Clinical ethics support to health professionals and patients who face ethical challenges in clinical practice varies between and within institutions. Literature regarding services available to paediatricians is sparse in specialist tertiary centres and almost absent in general paediatrics. We performed a mixed-methods study using online surveys and focus groups to explore the experiences of ethical and legal dilemmas and the support structures available to (i) paediatric intensive care teams as a proxy for specialist children's centres and (ii) paediatricians working in the general setting in the UK. Our main findings illustrate the broad range of ethical and legal challenges experienced by both groups in daily practice. Ethics training and the availability of ethics support were variable in structure, processes, funding and availability, e.g., 70% of paediatric intensive care consultants reported access to formal ethics advice versus 20% general paediatricians. Overall, our findings suggest a need for ethics support and training in both settings. The broad experience reported of ethics support, where it existed, was good – though improvements were suggested. Many clinicians were concerned about their relationship with children and families experiencing a challenging ethical situation, partly as a result of high-profile recent legal cases in the media. Further research in this area would help collect a broader range of views to inform clinical ethics support's development to better support paediatric teams, children and their families.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,420

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

5 (#1,578,512)

6 months
3 (#1,247,868)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?