Children’s Autonomy in Medical Decision-Making


  • Michael Chang-Tek Tai Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan


Should children be allowed to express their opinion in regards to medical treatment or experiment? In the past, the practice seemed to assume that children are not matured enough to make decision affecting their wellbeing, their guardians therefore are given the power to decide for them. In this article the author will argue that this practice should be changed and children be allowed to get involved. The author quoted Grootens-Wiegers P, Hein IM, van den Broek JM and de Vires MC of their findings in regards to children’s ability from developmental and neuroscientific aspects that children actually start knowing their like, dislike, good and bad… from a very young age. Though these processes are gradual the finding tells us that children are not as immature as we used to think. The author thus argues that children’s autonomy must be respected in some way when medical decision is to be made. At least they must be told what options available and seek their opinion.

Key Words: Bioethics, children’s autonomy, decision-making, vulnerability.