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Ethical challenges in regionalization of pediatric surgical care

Erica M Carlisle, Erin E Rowell
Current Opinion in Pediatrics 2019 April 1

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Rapid advancement in the field of pediatric surgery has resulted in unprecedented opportunities to advance the care of children. However, assuring that the highest quality, most appropriate care is available to all pediatric patients remains challenging. Regionalization of care has been proposed as a means of obtaining this critical goal. In this review, we discuss the ethical challenges associated with regionalization of pediatric surgical care.

RECENT FINDINGS: Regionalization of pediatric surgical care is associated with improved patient outcomes. Over half of pediatric surgeons favor regionalization of care. Despite these findings, regionalization of care may be associated with inequitable distribution of resources, financial and emotional burdens for patients and families, and surgeon dissatisfaction and technical decline.

SUMMARY: Regionalization of pediatric surgical care is fraught with complex ethical issues. Development of a system of pediatric surgery networks may offer a solution to these challenges.


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