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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Cross-cultural Issues and Diverse Beliefs

Case 3

A 3-year-old child is brought to your clinic with a fever and stiff neck. You are quite certain the child has meningitis. When you discuss the need for a spinal tap and antibiotic treatment, the parents refuse permission, saying, "We'd prefer to take him home and have our minister pray over him."

Can the parents refuse treatment in this case? How should you handle this?


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