European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 165, Issue 2, pp 83–86 | Cite as

Ethical issues in the daily medical care of children

  • R. Kurz
  • D. Gill
  • S. Mjones
  • Ethics Working Group of Confederation of European Specialists in Paediatrics
Special Article


The main ethical imperative of all paediatric actions is the demand to do everything “in the best interests of children”. Relevant guidelines can be derived from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Children, whereupon every child has the fundamental right to life and dignity, and is entitled to optimal medical care. Paediatric care in general includes the responsibility to achieve the highest level of knowledge, consideration of the child-specific somatic, mental and social development, empathic and trustworthy communication with the child and parents, observance of the recommendations of the Charter of the Rights of Children in Hospital, and cooperation with experts in related professions. Good communication is based on respect for the dignity of the child as a person and on the use of child-specific language, recognizing the rights of the child to be involved in consent or assent. Good clinical practice dictates and demands high standards of practice in therapeutics, research and medical interventions involving children. Decision making in extreme situations with regard to continuation, withholding or withdrawing life supporting measures is amongst the most complex and ethically difficult tasks of a doctor. Ethical issues with regard to neglect, maltreatment, abuse and addictions involving children need scrupulous consideration. Paediatricians have a prime responsibility to promote and protect the well being of children.


Child Abuse Child Protection Child Physical Abuse Ethical Duty General Declaration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kurz
    • 1
  • D. Gill
    • 1
  • S. Mjones
    • 1
  • Ethics Working Group of Confederation of European Specialists in Paediatrics
    • 1
  1. 1.Children's University HospitalDublinIreland

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