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 Ethics Question...  

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I have a question.... say if you suscept a kid w/ meningitis and parent's can't be reached, what should the physician do? Should we still give the give antibiotics and lumbar puncture w/o the parents consent? Or do we have to wait until we can find the parents?


In my opinion, we should proceed to LP and antibiotic. Meningitis if left untreated has high mortality rate (70-100%). The responsibility of physicians is to preserve life.


I think we have to wait for the parents decision because its a procedure for a minor



I would think that you would need the parents permission to anything on their child, however if it were my child and I could not be reached for some reason then I would want the procedure to just be taken care of. I would want a physician to do everything possible to make my child healthy.


Yes, when parents can't be reached or there's no time to get the proper consent, the physician has to act for the good of the patient. This is the principle of BENEFICENCE. If parents are reached but they deny care to the child, you would need to get a court order to contest their decision. Failing to deliver care to a child would be considered child abuse. But because time is running out, you'd use the Beneficence principle to take care of this child in the meantime while you get the proper paperwork later.  

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