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J Clin Ethics. 2012 Spring;23(1):47-55.

Her own decision: impairment and authenticity in adolescence.

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  • 1Center for Bioethics and Humanities at State University of New York, USA.


This case describes an adolescent in a crisis of a chronic medical condition whose situation is complicated by substance abuse and mental illness. D. Micah Hester provides an analytic approach, teasing apart the multiple layers of medical, developmental, and moral issues at hand and describing possible responses and outcomes. Amy T. Campbell examines existing legal guidelines for adolescent decision making, arguing that greater space exists for clinical discretion in these matters than commonly thought. Cheryl D. Lew discusses the development of agency in adolescent patients, the ideal of autonomous decision making in the context of impairment and chronic illness, and the obligation of healthcare teams to examine an adolescent patient's decisions in relation to her identity.

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