Childhood Cancer Ethical Issues

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Juvenile Cancer affects those under the age of eighteen. This chronic illness is difficult for the child and parents; however, it becomes even more problematic when ethical disputes are involved. These disputes can cause an uprising amongst social workers and physicians. These disputes can cause dilemmas with social workers ethically and morally. One of the biggest disputes is giving these juvenile cancer patients the ability to decide on their own care. Morally, social workers understand that the child is tired; however, ethically they are unable to allow the patient to stop the treatments without the parents or guardians’ consent. This is where these ethical disputes come into play.
About the Illness Childhood cancer is a chronic illness
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Some of these predicaments affect the child’s treatment directly or it is harder to treat the child at all. The first ethical issue is religion. The child’s parents could refuse treatment or care for the child depending on what their religious beliefs states. For children with cancer, it can keep them from receiving lifesaving chemotherapy. Religious groups like Christian Scientist refuse treatment and opt for prayer instead. Deborah Abbott & Stephen Gottschalk (2002) states, “Again, however, prayer and reasoned judgment amid the exigencies of practical situations—rather than abstract criteria—tend to shape the choice of treatment in emergency cases,” (p. 6-7).Physicians on the other hand see it as the parents being neglectful on what is necessary for the…show more content…
For cases like the aforementioned, social workers must follow the proper code of ethic and not get morally involved. While one may empathize with the patient, it is important that all ethical codes are being followed. In these situations, the social worker must follow the NASW code of ethics by one being culturally competent to the parents’ religious beliefs as well as ensuring that the best decision is made in the child’s care. In the case where the parents are refusing treatment based off religious purposes, the social worker must understand how the religion works and use this information as a way to help the patient receive care without crossing any additional ethical lines. When dealing with young cancer patients who wish to end their treatments, social workers must safeguard the interest and rights of the patient (NASW, 2008, 1.14). Social workers main ethical responsibility is to ensure that the patient is receiving the proper care that they are entitled and that the patient is the main
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