What should happen when doctors and parents disagree about what would be best for incurable children?
On April 23 a case added a new impulse to Charlie Gard parents, Bambino Gesu and bioethicist fight to find an adequate medical protocol legislative and solution that would protect parents from “painful and prolonged conflicts with medical professionals.”, when the United Kingdom High Court ruled that it is in Alfie Evans’s best interests he should die in Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool (see HERE our bioethical assessment).
On May an editorial of British Medical Journal signed by professor Savulescu titled, Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard—should the law change? affirmed, There is a pressing need now for professionals to come together with families to explore and implement new constructive solutions to avoid, mitigate, and resolve disagreements about treatment. That would be in the best interests of all children.
On 4th September Professors Savulescu and Wilkinson launched a book we present to our readers.
What should happen when doctors and parents disagree about what would be best for a child? When should courts become involved? Should life support be stopped against parents’ wishes? The case of Charlie Gard reached global attention in 2017. It led to widespread debate about the ethics of disagreements between doctors and parents, about the place of the law in such disputes, and about the variation in approach between different parts of the world. Profs Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu will present the key themes of their new book which critically examines the core ethical questions at the heart of disputes about medical treatment for children. They will review prominent cases of disagreement from the UK and internationally and analyse some of the distinctive and challenging features around treatment disputes in the 21st century, and outline a radical new framework for future cases of disagreement around the care of gravely ill people.
There will be an opportunity for group discussion of the general themes.
Professor Dominic Wilkinson is Director of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medical Ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He is a consultant in newborn intensive care at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He also holds a health practitioner research fellowship with the Wellcome Trust and is a senior research fellow at Jesus College Oxford.
Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care. He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He co-directs the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in collaboration with Public Health, Psychiatry and History.
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