Medicolegal and Ethical Issues in the Pharmacologic Treatment of Children

  • Ronald Schouten
  • Kenneth S. Duckworth


Physicians who prescribe psychotropic medications to children face unique legal and ethical challenges. The issues of competency, consent to treatment, patient autonomy, and confidentiality are important in this work, just as they are in adult medicine. The child and adolescent psychopharmacologist must also deal with the complex influences of family dynamics, child development, divorce, and custody as well as the involvement of parents, school personnel, and social service agencies in the treatment process. The fact that much remains to be understood in child psychiatry, the probabilistic rather than certain outcomes of medication trials, and the uncertain effects of new treatments on developing nervous systems all add additional layers of complexity.


Antipsychotic Medication Tardive Dyskinesia Child Psychiatrist Make Treatment Decision Medical Malpractice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Schouten
    • 1
  • Kenneth S. Duckworth
    • 2
  1. 1.Law and Psychiatry ServiceMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBostonUSA

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