Responding to the 'crowd' of voices and opinions in the paediatric clinical space: an ethics perspective

Clare Delany, Bryanna Moore, Neera Bhatia, Elise Burn, Neil Wimalasundera, Anne Preisz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ready access to the internet and online sources of information about child health and disease has allowed people more 'distant' from a child, family and paediatric clinician to inform and influence clinical decisions. It has also allowed parents to share aspects of their child's health and illness to garner support or funding for treatment. As a consequence, paediatric clinicians must consider and incorporate the crowd of opinions and voices into their clinical and ethical reasoning. We identify two key ethical principles and related ethics concepts foundational to this task. We then propose a series of exploratory ethics questions to assist paediatric clinicians to engage ethically with the multiple voices in the clinical encounter while keeping the child's needs as a central focus. Using two clinical hypothetical case examples, we illustrate how our proposed ethics questions can assist paediatric clinicians to navigate the crowd in the room and bring moral reasoning to bear. We highlight a need for specific practical interactional skills training to assist clinicians to ethically respond to the crowd in the room, including to identify and weigh up the harms and benefits of endorsing or going against proposed treatments for a child, and how to discuss social media and online sources of information with parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-461
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics
  • Paediatrics
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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