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What Counts as a Family—And Who Is to Decide? 

What Counts as a Family—And Who Is to Decide?
Chapter:
What Counts as a Family—And Who Is to Decide?
Author(s):

Margareta Hydén

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190624880.003.0006
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date: 29 May 2020

This case study seeks to explore some of the complexities involved in a child’s and later a young woman’s efforts to be recognized by the adult world as a human being in deep trouble. It originates from an interview with Mary, a twenty-three-year-old woman who participated in a study of social network responses to young people with health problems. Since her family was the locus of her troubles, she had tried to get recognition from adults in a number of ways. Her narrative brings to the fore some essential questions for a relational bioethical approach to healthcare, such as: What counts as a family—and who is to decide? What kind of ethical dilemmas will personnel in a family-oriented healthcare system have to face if they meet children who introduce them to family forms that are not self-evident?

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