Four Models of Family Interests.

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    • Abstract:
      In this article, I distinguish between 4 models for thinking about how to balance the interests of parents, families, and a sick child: (1) the oxygen mask model; (2) the wide interests model; (3) the family interests model; and (4) the direct model. The oxygen mask model - which takes its name from flight attendants' directives to parents to put on their own oxygen mask before putting on their child's - says that parents should consider their own interests only insofar as doing so is, ultimately, good for the sick child. The wide interests model suggests that in doing well by my child I am at the very same time doing well by myself. My interests can, and plausibly do, encompass the interests of others; they are, to that extent, wide. There is, then, no sharp separation between the interests of the sick child and the interests of other family members. In the family interests model, families themselves are seen as having interests that are neither identical to the sum, nor a simple function, of the interests of individual family members. The family has goals, values, and aspirations that are essentially corporate rather than individual. According to this model, these family interests can explain why sacrifices can sometimes be demanded of some family members for the sake of others in a medical setting. Finally, the direct model takes a simpler view of family members' interests; it claims that these interests matter simply on their own and should be taken into account in making treatment decisions for a sick child. This model openly considers the competing interests that parents and other family members often have when caring for a sick child, and advocates for weighing those interests when making decisions for and about the sick child. While there is room for all four models at the bedside, I argue that the direct model should be highlighted in clinical decision-making. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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