The high profile cases of Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans, and Tafida Raqeeb raised the questions as to why the state intrudes into the exercise of parental responsibility concerning the medical treatment of children and why parents may not be permitted to decide what is in the best interests of their child. This book answers these questions. It argues for a reframing of the law concerned with the medical treatment of children to one which better protects the welfare of the individual child, within the context of family relationships recognising the duties which professionals have to care for the child and that the welfare of children is a matter of public interest, protected through the intervention of the state.
This book undertakes a rigorous critical analysis of the case law concerned with the provision of medical treatment to children since the first reported cases over forty years ago. It argues that understanding of the cases only as disputes over the best interests of the child, and judicial resolution thereof, fails to recognise professional duties and public responsibilities for the welfare and protection of children that exist alongside parental responsibilities and which justify public, or state, intervention into family life and parental decision-making. Whilst the principles and approach of the court established in the early cases endure, the nature and balance of these responsibilities to children in their care need to be understood in the changing social, legal, and political context in which they are exercised and enforced by the court.
The book will be a valuable resource for academics, students, and practitioners of Medical Law, Healthcare Law, Family Law, Social Work, Medicine, Nursing, and Bioethics.
Table of Contents
1 The Changing Context for Children’s Medical Treatment Cases
2 The Children Act 1989 and Responsibilities for Children’s Medical Treatment Cases
3 The Development of the Legal Framework for Children’s Medical Treatment Cases
4 The Legal Duties of Doctors to Children in Their Care
5 Protecting the Interests and Welfare of Vulnerable Children
6 Professional Duties and Public Responsibilities in Limitation of Life-Sustaining Treatment Cases
7 At the Frontiers of Medicine
8 Professional Duties, Public Responsibilities, and State Intervention into Family Life
Jo Bridgeman is Professor of Healthcare Law and Feminist Ethics at the University of Sussex, UK.