Medical Ethics for Children: Applying the Four Principles to Paediatrics
Journal of Medical Ethics 2008 March; 34(3): 141-145
I will argue that there are difficulties with the application of the four principles approach to incompetent children. The most important principle - respect for autonomy - is not directly applicable to incompetent children and the most appropriate modification of the principle for them is not clear. The principle of beneficence - that one should act in the child's interests - is complicated by difficulties in assessing what a child's interests are and to which standard of interests those choosing for children should be held. A further problem with the four principles approach is that parental authority does not follow clearly from the four principles.
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