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Article: Parental refusal of life-saving treatments for adolescents: Chinese familism in medical decision-making re-visited

TitleParental refusal of life-saving treatments for adolescents: Chinese familism in medical decision-making re-visited
Authors
KeywordsAdolescent medical decision-making
Confucian familism
Parental authority
Patient-doctor relationship
Issue Date2008
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/BIOETHICS
Citation
Bioethics, 2008, v. 22 n. 5, p. 286-295 How to Cite?
AbstractThis paper reports two cases in Hong Kong involving two native Chinese adolescent cancer patients (APs) who were denied their rights to consent to necessary treatments refused by their parents, resulting in serious harm. We argue that the dynamics of the 'AP-physician-family-relationship' and the dominant role Chinese families play in medical decision-making (MDM) are best understood in terms of the tendency to hierarchy and parental authoritarianism in traditional Confucianism. This ethic has been confirmed and endorsed by various Chinese writers from Mainland China and Hong Kong. Rather than giving an unqualified endorsement to this ethic, based more on cultural sentimentalism than rational moral reasoning, we warn that a strong familism in MDM, which deprives 'weak' family members of rights, represents the less desirable elements of this tradition, against which healthcare professionals working in this cultural milieu need to safeguard. Specifically for APs, we suggest that parental authority and family integrity should be re-interpreted in terms of parental responsibility and the enhancement of children's interests respectively, as done in the West. This implies that when parents refuse to consent to necessary treatment and deny their adolescent children's right to consent, doctors, as the only remaining advocates of the APs' interest, have the duty to inform the state, which can override parental refusal to enable the doctors to fulfill their professional and moral obligations. In so doing the state exercises its 'parens patriae' power to defend the defenseless in society and the integrity of the medical profession. © 2008 The Author.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/85508
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 1.75
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.686
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorHui, Een_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-09-06T09:05:54Z-
dc.date.available2010-09-06T09:05:54Z-
dc.date.issued2008en_HK
dc.identifier.citationBioethics, 2008, v. 22 n. 5, p. 286-295en_HK
dc.identifier.issn0269-9702en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/85508-
dc.description.abstractThis paper reports two cases in Hong Kong involving two native Chinese adolescent cancer patients (APs) who were denied their rights to consent to necessary treatments refused by their parents, resulting in serious harm. We argue that the dynamics of the 'AP-physician-family-relationship' and the dominant role Chinese families play in medical decision-making (MDM) are best understood in terms of the tendency to hierarchy and parental authoritarianism in traditional Confucianism. This ethic has been confirmed and endorsed by various Chinese writers from Mainland China and Hong Kong. Rather than giving an unqualified endorsement to this ethic, based more on cultural sentimentalism than rational moral reasoning, we warn that a strong familism in MDM, which deprives 'weak' family members of rights, represents the less desirable elements of this tradition, against which healthcare professionals working in this cultural milieu need to safeguard. Specifically for APs, we suggest that parental authority and family integrity should be re-interpreted in terms of parental responsibility and the enhancement of children's interests respectively, as done in the West. This implies that when parents refuse to consent to necessary treatment and deny their adolescent children's right to consent, doctors, as the only remaining advocates of the APs' interest, have the duty to inform the state, which can override parental refusal to enable the doctors to fulfill their professional and moral obligations. In so doing the state exercises its 'parens patriae' power to defend the defenseless in society and the integrity of the medical profession. © 2008 The Author.en_HK
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/BIOETHICSen_HK
dc.relation.ispartofBioethicsen_HK
dc.rightsBioethics. Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.en_HK
dc.subjectAdolescent medical decision-makingen_HK
dc.subjectConfucian familismen_HK
dc.subjectParental authorityen_HK
dc.subjectPatient-doctor relationshipen_HK
dc.titleParental refusal of life-saving treatments for adolescents: Chinese familism in medical decision-making re-visiteden_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://library.hku.hk:4550/resserv?sid=HKU:IR&issn=0269-9702&volume=22&spage=286&epage=295&date=2008&atitle=Parental+Refusal+of+Life-Saving+Treatments+for+Adolescents:+Chinese+Familism+in+Medical+Decision-Making+Re-Visited”en_HK
dc.identifier.emailHui, E: edwinhui@hkucc.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityHui, E=rp00472en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00607.xen_HK
dc.identifier.pmid18447864-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-43049124406en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros149116en_HK
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-43049124406&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume22en_HK
dc.identifier.issue5en_HK
dc.identifier.spage286en_HK
dc.identifier.epage295en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000255455800006-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdomen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridHui, E=35319968700en_HK
dc.identifier.citeulike2745258-

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