Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Three approaches to conscientious objection in health care: conscience absolutism, the incompatibility thesis, and compromise; 3. Ethical limitations on the exercise of conscience; 4. Pharmacies, health care institutions, and conscientious objection; 5. Students, residents, and conscience-based exemptions; 6. Conscience clauses: too little and too much protection; References.
In response to physicians who refuse to provide medical services that are contrary to their ethical and/or religious beliefs, it is sometimes asserted that anyone who is not willing to provide legally and professionally permitted medical services should choose another profession. This article critically examines the underlying assumption that conscientious objection is incompatible with a physician’s professional obligations (the “incompatibility thesis”). Several accounts of the professional obligations of physicians are explored: general ethical theories (consequentialism, contractarianism, and rights-based theories), internal morality (...) (essentialist and non-essentialist conceptions), reciprocal justice, social contract, and promising. It is argued that none of these accounts of a physician’s professional obligations unequivocally supports the incompatibility thesis. (shrink)
: This paper examines the obligations of pharmacy licensees and pharmacists in the context of conscience-based objections to filling lawful prescriptions for certain types of medications—e.g., standard and emergency contraceptives. Claims of conscience are analyzed as means to preserve or maintain an individual's moral integrity. It is argued that pharmacy licensees have an obligation to dispense prescription medications that satisfy the health needs of the populations they serve, and this obligation can override claims of conscience. Although efforts should be made (...) to respect the moral integrity of pharmacists and accommodate their claims of conscience, it is argued that the health needs of patients and the professional obligations of pharmacists limit the extent to which pharmacists may refuse to assist patients who have lawful prescriptions for medically indicated drugs. (shrink)
: Research involving the dead, especially heart-beating cadavers, may facilitate the testing of potentially revolutionary and life-saving medical treatments. However, to ensure that such research is conducted ethically, it is essential to: (1) identify appropriate standards for this research and (2) assign institutional responsibility and a mechanism for oversight. Protocols for research involving the dead should be reviewed by a special committee and assessed according to nine standards intended to ensure scientific merit, to protect deceased patients and their families, and (...) to promote institutional integrity and responsibility. Federal regulation of research involving the dead will foster appropriate standards and, equally importantly, help establish the acceptability of such research. (shrink)
: This paper examines informed consent in relation to research involving the newly dead. Reasons are presented for facilitating advance decision making in relation to postmortem research, and it is argued that the informed consent of family members should be sought when the deceased have not made a premortem decision. Regardless of whether the dead can be harmed, there are two important respects in which family consent can serve to protect the dead: (1) protecting the deceased's body from being used (...) for research that is incompatible with the person's premortem preferences and values and (2) protecting the deceased's body from being subject to disrespectful treatment. These claims are explained and justified, and several objections are critically examined. Additional reasons for securing family consent are presented including to protect them from additional emotional distress, to respect their wishes about wanting to have a say, and to maintain public trust in the medical profession and medical research. The paper also examines the scope of disclosure in relation to postmortem research. (shrink)
This paper describes the first three-year experience of the Consortium Ethics Program (CEP-1) of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Ethics, and also outlines plans for the second three-year phase (CEP-2) of this experiment in continuing ethics education. In existence since 1990, the CEP has the primary goal of creating a cost-effective, permanent ethics resource network, by utilizing the educational resources of a university bioethics center and the practical expertise of a regional hospital council. The CEP's conception and specific (...) components stem from recognition of the need to make each hospital a major focus of educational efforts, and to provide academic support for the in-house activities of the representatives from each institution. (shrink)