Toward Truly Informed Decisions About Appearance-Normalizing Surgeries
Paul Steven Miller
University of Washington School of Law
August 4, 2008
SURGICALLY SHAPING CHILDREN TECHNOLOGY, ETHICS, AND THE PURSUIT OF NORMALITY, Erik Parens, ed., Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
For children who are born with norm-challenging anatomical differences, the question arises over how to determine what is in the best interest of that child when normalizing surgery is an option. Miller argues that decisions about the medical care and treatment of children involve the rights and interests of three parties: the child, the parent, and the state. Due to the elective nature of these surgeries and the fact that such surgeries alter the natural identity of the child, traditional consent procedures may not be sufficient to protect the best interest of the child. Miller asserts that if the risks and benefits of such a procedure, both physical and psychological, are to be weighed carefully, it is essential to seek out the perspectives of those who live with the trait that the surgery seeks to change. Gathering insight and information from the community of affected individuals provides a context that will complement the perspective of the parents and the medical community. This is the only way to enable a truly informed choice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: normalizing surgeries, disability, medical consent, disability community, bioethics, informed consentAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 29, 2009
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