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When is it okay to challenge parents’ authority to make medical decisions for their children -- e.g., newborn screening?

10/13/2009

When is it okay to challenge parents’ authority to make medical decisions for their children -- e.g., newborn screening?

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ANSWERS

This is certainly a slippery slope. With the issue of newborn screening, parents are rarely even informed of this testing, so they rarely have the ability to withdrawal consent (though a few states have informed consent rules). In Nebraska, a case where parents went home without having their newborn screened were labeled unfit, even when they asserted religious reasons. In the case of newborn screening, it is still very experimental. The false positive rate is high and the diseases screened for have little to no proven benefit of screening (with the exception of a handful). Even PKU testing, at the beginning, caused more harm then good because it was rolled out too quickly. So when is it o.k., I think it has to be taken on a case by case basis.
Posted by: Michele Freyhauf on October 19 2009, 4:41 pm
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