Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Surgery

  • Jacqueline J. GloverEmail author
  • Benedict C. Nwomeh
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Ethical issues arise in pediatric surgery when difficult decisions must be made in the presence of uncertainty or conflict, and stakeholders are concerned about quality of life, informed decision-making, and access to scarce medical resources. This chapter provides the pediatric surgeon with a framework for ethical decision-making that relies on a best interest standard and includes a definition of this standard and also the appropriate application and limitations of the best interest standard. Decision-making for adolescents includes a discussion of informed consent and assent. The best interest standard is discussed in the context of multiculturalism. Other issues include prenatal surgical consultation and fetal surgery, bariatric surgery, conflicts of interest, errors and innovation, and clinical research.


Ethical decision-making Best interest standard Informed consent and assent Multiculturalism Fetal surgery Bariatric surgery Conflicts of interest Surgical errors Innovation and research 



This chapter is based on a previous published chapter – Glover, Jacqueline and Caniano, Donna. Ethical Considerations in Newborn Surgery in Newborn Surgery 3rd edition, Prem Puri editor. pages 228–236. CRC Press, November 2011.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics and Center for Bioethics and HumanitiesUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and The Children’s Hospital ColoradoAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryOhio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Nationwide Children’s HospitalColumbusUSA

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