AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. October 2012, Volume 14, Number 10.

Ethics Poll

Special Care for Minors

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

Physicians sometimes call for a “slow code”–less aggressive resuscitative measures carried out slowly–when they believe that a patient will die of his or her injuries or illness and that attempts at a “full code” would harm the patient unnecessarily. Which of the following best represents your opinion of this practice?
In most states minors can consent to medical care for reproductive matters, addiction, and some mental health conditions without the involvement of a parent or guardian. They can also consent to emergency medical services when delaying to get parental consent would increase the risk of harm. Do you think the list of services to which minors can consent on their own should be expanded and, if so, to what degree?
How can physicians in pediatric residency programs become competent in performing life-saving procedures such as endotrachael intubation without practicing the procedures on critically ill or injured children?