A primary goal of our medical education system is to produce physicians qualified to promote health, prevent and treat disease, and relieve suffering. Although some aspects of the practice of medicine can be learned in classrooms, from textbooks, or with simulators, other aspects can only be learned through the direct provision of patient care. Residency programs therefore offer essential educational experiences that support residents’ acquisition of knowledge, skills, and professional judgment through the assumption of progressive responsibility under an appropriate level of supervision. Yet, ethical questions can arise when medical education is integrated with patient care. How should we balance the educational needs of residents and the social benefits of medical education against obligations to patients and families? In this article, we present the case of a child whose family requests that residents not be allowed to perform any procedures on their child and then ask experts (a pediatric residency program director, a pediatrics resident, and an ethicist) to comment.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.