Journal of Pediatric Epilepsy 2020; 9(03): 067-072
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1714354
Review Article

Exploring the Role of Pediatric Neurology in Determinations of Futility, Identifying Vulnerability, and Participating in Shared Decision Making through Case-Based Analysis

1  Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas City, Missouri, United States
2  Department of Pediatrics & Bioethics Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Children's Mercy Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
› Author Affiliations


It is not uncommon for pediatric neurologists to encounter ethical dilemmas in clinical practice. These dilemmas not only require an exploration of the basic bioethical principles, but also considering that neurological disease can have impact on a person's self-identity. Patients with neurological disease are particularly vulnerable and at risk of having long-term sequelae of their nervous system and their individual selves. These important considerations can then raise the question of futility of treatment in a setting of uncertainty of outcome. In these complex situations, a pediatric neurologist plays an important role in shared decision making with both families and multidisciplinary teams. In this paper, we explore case-based scenarios that serve to demonstrate the unique character of ethics in neurology and the role of pediatric neurologists in finding solutions that are in a patient's best interest, have a minimal chance of harm, respect a patient's autonomy, and are just and promote justice.

Publication History

Received: 25 May 2020

Accepted: 08 June 2020

Publication Date:
20 July 2020 (online)

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