Ethics in health care and medical technologies

In this paper a case is used to demonstrate how ethical analysis enables health care professionals, patients and family members to make treatment decisions which ensure that medical technologies are used in the overall best interests of the patient. The claim is made and defended that ethical analysis can secure four beneficial outcomes when medical technologies are employed: (1) not allowing any medical technologies to be employed until the appropriate decision makers are identified and consulted; (2) insisting that medical technologies be employed not merely to promote the medical interests of the patient but rather on the basis of their ability to contribute to the overall well-being of the patient; (3) challenging caregivers to reflect on the dynamic interplay between their conscious and unconscious values and consequent determinations of what is in the patient's best interests; and (4) providing a justification for selected interventions which makes possible rational dialogue between caregivers espousing different viewpoints about treatment options.
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