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Sinai Bioethics Grand Rounds: ‘Doctor Knows Best?’: Reconsidering paternalism in paediatrics in the wake of the Pandemic’s 4th Wave

September 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Nipa Chauhan, MHSc Research Associate, Sinai Health

Jessica Faust, MSW RSW, Social Worker, SickKids NICU

Rebecca Greenberg RN, PhD Senior Bioethicist, Sinai Health


Date:                 September 23, 2021

Time:                12 to 1 p.m.

Location:         Virtual via Zoom


Register in advance for this webinar:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Paternalism, in its traditional form, seems largely incompatible with western medicine. In paediatrics decision-making is often done by substitute decision makers (most commonly parents).  Most models of shared decision making, employ both the parents’ and medical team’s perspectives but do not recognize the inherent asymmetry of information and experience – asking parents to act like physicians and evaluate technical data and encourage physicians to refrain from strong medical opinions. As COVID-19 shifts to a pandemic of the unvaccinated and children return to school, it is inevitable more children will shoulder the burden of COVID-19 infections. Correspondingly, now more than ever it is necessary to revisit ethical considerations for substitute decision making (SDM) and how a mild form of paternalism may be called for to maximize the best interests of children. In this presentation we will look to learn from environments where SDM is the norm including the NICU. Lessons will be applicable to all settings with SDM including adult healthcare.

Learning Objectives:

  • To explore shared decision-making in paediatrics
  • To discuss a revised and ethical approach to clinician paternalism
  • To provide clinical teams with considerations for employing beneficent paternalism

The Bioethics Department Grand Rounds is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.


Brought to you by the Sinai Health Bioethics Department


September 23
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Zoom webinar