David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 23 (6):601 – 615 (1998)
This article is an attempt by Japanese physicians to introduce the practice patterns and moral justification of Japanese critical care to the world. Japanese health care is characterized by the fact that the fee schedule does not reward high technology medicine, such as surgery and critical care. In spite of the low reimbursement, our critical care practice pattern is characterized by continuing futile treatment for terminal patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). This apparently wasteful practice can be explained by fundamental Japanese cultural values, social factors in Japan, the availability of extensive insurance coverage, physicians' psychological factors, lack of cost-benefit considerations and the pragmatic approach the Japanese take to situations. We attempt to make some brief suggestions regarding the improvement of our critical care practices. Although we can not fully present quantitative data to support our argument, this article represents our real-world approaches to the ethical issues in the ICU in Japan.
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