“Suffering” is a concept that is frequently invoked in discussions about medical decision-making in pediatrics. However, empirical accounts of how the term is used are lacking, creating confusion about the concept and leaving parents and providers unsure about the appropriate ways to account for it in pediatric decision-making. We conducted a qualitative content analysis of pediatric bioethics and clinical literature in selected journals from 2007 to 2017 to determine how authors define and operationalize the term when referring to issues in pediatric treatment.
Since Henry Beecher’s 1966 revelation of the scandal at the Willowbrook School, the ethics of biomedical research involving pediatric subjects has never been the same. Throughout history, the conversation about non-therapeutic pediatric research has moved from access to protection only to return to access once more.