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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Parental Decision Making:
Case 3 Discussion

The parents have the authority to make a choice of this nature. In general, courts have been reluctant to overrule parental wishes in most situations where that decision does not place the child at considerable risk. Though failure to start an anticonvulsant may increase the risk of further seizures, this does not pose a substantial enough risk to the child to justify overriding the parents' wishes, especially given the potential risks and side effects associated with the medication. Though you may not agree with their decision, the decision is a reasonable one that does not place their child at substantial risk of increased harm.


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