Response to “Difference and the Delivery of Healthcare” (Special Section) (CQ Vol 7, No 1)

Abstract
In a special issue of this journal, a range of authors addressed the critical problem of difference in bioethics. To what extent do class, culture, ethnicity, and race affect the ethical decisions that patients and professionals must make in a medical context? Those arguing for an understanding of cultural influences in bioethical decisionmakingtypically argue from the perspective of individual case studies to demonstrate the importance of these social constructs. Others, like Erika Blacksher, however, worry that this approach will obscure the uniqueness of individual decisionmakng patterns, allowing all persons of a single group to be aggregated as if their class, cultural construct, or religious affiliation were the single motive element in their medicolegal decisionmaking. There is, she cautions, a risk of misuse if a professional care provider reflexively assumes individual patient or surrogate reactions on the basis of ethnicity or culture
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