A journal devoted to pediatric bioethics


Pediatric Ethicscope: The Journal of Pediatric Bioethics is a peer-reviewed clinical and academic journal dedicated to presenting the work of multidisciplinary contributors sharing diverse, nuanced perspectives on issues in pediatric ethics, bioethics and clinical ethics. In an effort to democratize knowledge of the important issues in pediatric ethics, the journal is OA platinum; we charge fees to neither readers nor authors. This is made possible by support from our home institution, the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics.

Editorial Board

The Pediatric Ethicscope editorial board is comprised by renown experts in the field of pediatric ethics, bioethics, and clinical ethics. More can be read about each of the board members listed below by following the this link.


Being Open Access Platinum, Pediatric Ethicscope has a broad readership. While most readers are located in the United States and Canada, overall readership spans more than 100 countries. The journal is archived by the library of Congress (ISSN Print 2328-4617, ISSN Online 2328-4625). Below: Geographic distribution of readers denoted in blue, with darker tones indicating greater numbers.

Pediatric Ethicscope worldwide readership


Pediatric Ethicscope has been published biannually for the past 32 years, and more about the journal’s history can be found here. The journal publishes original research, review articles, case studies, short and long form issue analyses, grand rounds, point/counterpoint segments, interviews with prominent ethicists, book reviews, and reports on ethics education opportunities.

The journal accepts manuscripts in all aforementioned categories within our defined scope: issues in pediatric ethics, pediatric clinical ethics cases and practices, and matters of bioethics policy affecting children and families. Please see For Authors for more information on our submittal and peer-review processes, and contact the editors with any further questions.

Issues are released both online and in print. The online, HTML versions can be found below. Following online issue, PDFs  of the print version can be read online or downloaded using the link, “Download Print Version PDF” to the right of this text. Please note past issues are available both online and in downloadable PDF versions under the Archives  tab. Thank you for your interest in Pediatric Ethicscope.

Spring 2019;32(1)

2019 Spring Editorial

Editorial: normative biases in data-driven medicine; clinical trials involving neonates; medical complexity and foster care; empathy and patient/family worldview; moral courage; ethics of physician shadowing.

Ethical Analysis of Normative Biases In Data-Driven Medicine

Evidence based Data driven medicine

Information technology in the 21st century has resulted in physicians coming to rely on data. However, when clinicians are conditioned to rely on data and suppress clinical judgment, it becomes difficult to manage rare conditions where data is not available. The following discussion recounts one family’s experience with clinical counseling on a rare diagnosis and highlights these issues.

Considerations for Informed Consent in Clinical Trials Involving Neonates

Conducting clinical research in newborns requires special protections due to the high vulnerability of this patient population and their parents. This paper presents guidance developed by a multidisciplinary group of bioethicists and patient advocates considering patient- and parent-centric approaches to informed consent in neonatal research in the context of an ongoing clinical trial for neonates with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Unintended Consequences of the Increasing Complexity of Home Medical Care

complex medical care can lead to foster care

Pediatric patients who require medical care that is beyond the ability of their family to administer and/or maintain poses numerous ethical questions. Assuming the best interests of the child necessarily compel foster placement, what practical and ethical issues remain?

Empathy and the Divide Between Medical and Patient/Family Worldviews

Physician discusses diagnosis with patient's parents.

A lack of empathy while standing in as a translator for another physician's patient and family raised the following question: can one be culturally insensitive to one's own culture? The following narrative explores the divide between medical and patient/family worldviews.

Moral Courage in Practice

A nurse recounts her experience as a new NICU nurse raising an issue about the appropriateness of a procedure with the rest of the medical team. The narrative addresses issues of power imbalance, ethical controversy, medical decision-making, and moral distress.

Clinical and Surgical Shadowing: A First-Person Account and Ethical Analysis

Shadowing has become, if not an explicit requirement, important for medical school admission. Shadowing has come under criticism for undermining bioethical principles such as patient autonomy and privacy. Critics argue the practice of shadowing violates the physician's fiduciary duty to the patient. These criticisms are largely based either theoretical concerns or anecdote. This account reviews the criticisms of shadowing and assesses the claims.