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Ethical issues in surgical decision making concerning children with medically intractable epilepsy

Ethical issues in surgical decision making concerning children with medically intractable epilepsy

Epilepsy and Behavior 22(2): 154-157

The widespread inclusion of surgical strategies in the treatment of medically intractable epilepsy is largely justified by the medical and psychosocial burden of the illness. Performing these procedures in pediatric populations is associated with distinct challenges ranging from unique seizure etiologies to issues surrounding brain development and functional plasticity. As the trend toward more aggressive surgical intervention continues, the ethical foundation of current and emerging practices must be increasingly scrutinized. Here, we present the first article discussing ethical issues in the surgical management of medically intractable epilepsies in children. We discuss principles of informed consent, harm reduction, and justice in this vulnerable patient population. We also highlight the unique ethical challenge of surgical decision making concerning developmentally delayed children. The recognition of these issues is essential to providing patient-centered, responsible, and ethical care.

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Accession: 053046660

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21856238

DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.07.008

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