Deep Brain Stimulation in Children: Parental Authority Versus Shared Decision-Making
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- Focquaert, F. Neuroethics (2013) 6: 447. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9098-4
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This paper discusses the use of deep brain stimulation for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders in children. At present, deep brain stimulation is used to treat movement disorders in children and a few cases of deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders in adolescents have been reported. Ethical guidelines on the use of deep brain stimulation in children are therefore urgently needed. This paper focuses on the decision-making process, and provides an ethical framework for (future) treatment decisions in pediatric deep brain stimulation. I defend a shared decision-making model in case of deep brain stimulation for neurological and psychiatric disorders in children. To protect the vulnerable child patient, a dual consent process is needed where parents or parental guardians give their consent, and the child gives his/her assent.