Cross-cultural Issues and Diverse Beliefs
Case 3 Discussion
with an Emphasis in Pediatrics
The physician has a duty to provide treatment to a child when denying
that treatment would pose a significant risk of substantial harm. Failure
to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis would seriously threaten the
health and even life of this child. The physician should share his view
with the family and seek to elicit their cooperation through respectful
discussion. Inviting their religious leader to the hospital while also
providing standard medical therapy may prove to be an acceptable compromise.
Should these efforts not result in parental permission, the physician
is justified in seeking legal help so as to proceed with the procedure
and treatment of the child. In most states a physician is legally authorized
to provide emergency treatment to a child without a court order when delay
would likely result in harm.
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