In this issue of AJOB, Navin and Wasserman (2017) argue that parents should have more discretion in clinical decision making than they currently do. They criticize the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for curtailing parental discretion.
Many commentators thought, instead, that the AAP got it just right. Bester and Kodish (2017) argue that decisions for children should not be guided by an assumption that parents are always right but by “the important fiduciary obligation that doctors have to focus primarily on what is best for their patient.” They worry that the approach of Navin and Wasserman opens the door to exploitation, abuse, or neglect. Children, they assert, are not chattel. They do not belong to their parents.