Substantial efforts have recently been made to reform the physician-patient relationship, particularly toward replacing the `silent world of doctor and patient' with informed patient participation in medical decision-making. This 'new ethos of patient autonomy' has especially insisted on the routine provision of informed consent for all medical interventions. Stronly supported by most bioethicists and the law, as well as more popular writings and expectations, it still seems clear that informed consent has, at best, been received (...) in a lukewarm fashion by most clinicians, many simply rejecting what they commonly refer to as the `myth of informed consent'. The purpose of this book is to defuse this seemingly intractable controversy by offering an efficient and effective operational model of informed consent. This goal is pursued first by reviewing and evaluating, in detail, the agendas, arguments, and supporting materials of its proponents and detractors. A comprehensive review of empirical studies of informed consent is provided, as well as a detailed reflection on the common clinician experience with attempts at informed consent and the exercise of autonomy by patients. In the end, informed consent is recast as a management tool for pursuing clinically and ethically important goods and values that any clinician should see as meriting pursuit. Concurrently, the model incorporates a flexible, anticipatory approach that recognizes that no static, generic ritual can legitimately pursue the quite variable goods and values that may be at stake with different patients in different situations. Finally, efficiency of provision is addressed by not pursuing the unattainable and ancillary. Throughout, the traditional principle of beneficence is appealed to toward articulating an operational model of informed consent as an intervention that is likely to change outcomes at the bedside for the better. (shrink)
Background Following passage of the Patient Self Determination Act in 1990, health care institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding are required to inform patients of their right to make their health care preferences known through execution of a living will and/or to appoint a surrogate-decision maker. We evaluated the impact of external factors and perceived patient preferences on physicians’ decisions to honor or forgo previously established advance directives (ADs). In addition, physician views regarding legal risk, patients’ (...) ability to comprehend complexities involved with their care, and impact of medical costs related to end-of-life care decisions were explored. Methods Attendees of two Mayo Clinic continuing medical education courses were surveyed. Three scenarios based in part on previously court-litigated matters assessed impact of external factors and perceived patient preferences on physician compliance with patient-articulated wishes regarding resuscitation. General questions measured respondents’ perception of legal risk, concerns over patient knowledge of idiosyncrasies involved with their care, and impact medical costs may have on compliance with patient preferences. Responses indicating strength of agreement or disagreement with statements were treated as ordinal data and analyzed using the Cochran Armitage trend test. Results Three hundred eighty-eight of 951 surveys were completed (41% response rate). Eighty percent reported they were likely to honor a patient’s AD despite its 5 year age. Fewer than half (41%) would honor the AD of a patient in ventricular fibrillation who had expressed a desire to “pass away in peace.” Few (17%) would forgo an AD following a family’s request for continued resuscitative treatment. A majority (52%) considered risk of liability to be lower when maintaining someone alive against their wishes than mistakenly failing to provide resuscitative efforts. A large percentage (74%) disagreed that patients could not appreciate complexities surrounding their care while 69% agreed that costs should never impact a physician’s decision as to whether to comply with a patient’s AD. Conclusions Our findings highlight the impact, albeit small, external factors have on physician AD compliance. Most respondents based their decision on the clinical situation at hand and interpretation of the patient’s initial wishes and preferences expressed by the AD. (shrink)
In this eye-opening look at the doctor-patient decision-making process, physician and law professor Jay Katz examines the time-honored belief in the virtue of silent care and patient compliance. Historically, the doctor-patient relationship has been based on a one-way trust -- despite recent judicial attempts to give patients a greater voice through the doctrine of informed consent. Katz criticizes doctors for encouraging patients to relinquish their autonomy, and demonstrates the detrimental effect their silence has on good (...) class='Hi'>patient care. Seeing a growing need in this age of medical science and sophisticated technology for more honest and complete communication between physician and patients, he advocates a new, informed dialogue that respects the rights and needs of both sides. In a new foreword to this edition of The Silent World of Doctor and Patient , Alexander Morgan Capron outlines the changes in medical ethics practice that have occurred since the book was first published in 1984, paying particular attention to the hotly debated issues of physician-assisted suicide and informed consent in managed care. (shrink)
Philosophers and physicians alike tend to discuss the physician-patient relationship in terms of physician privilege and patient autonomy, stressing the duty of the physician to respect the autonomy and the variously elaborated rights of the patient. The authors of this article argue that such emphasis on rights was initially productive, in a first generation of debate on medical ethical issues, but that it is now time for a second generation effort that will stress the (...) importance of the unique experiential aspects of the physician-patient relationship — mutual trust, suffering and healing. We attempt here to initiate this second-generation discussion, presenting the first generation's philosophical background, criticizing it from the perspective of clinical experience, and seeking a synthesis in the relational qualities of patient and physician interacting in a medical context. (shrink)
The author discusses the postmodernist claim that the grand theories have lost credibility, even in the field of medical science and practice. Rather than representing a shared reality among physician and patient, illness represents two quite distinct realities — the meaning of one being significantly and distinctively different from the meaning of the other. However, existential clinical narratives can function as important bridges between the world of the patient and the world of the physician. Such narratives (...) provide important information regarding the patient's biographical situation and, particularly, the personal and cultural meanings which are a function of the biographical situation. At the same time, these narratives provide physicians with useful information for the practice of medicine. (shrink)
Some critiques of cybermedicine claim that it is problematic because it fails to create physician–patient relationships. But, electronically mediated encounters do create such relationships. The issue is the nature and quality of those relationships and whether they are conducive to good patient care and meet the ethical ideals and standards of medicine. In this paper, I argue that effective communication and compassion are, in most cases, necessary for the establishment of trusting and morally appropriate physician–patient (...) relationships. The creation of these relationships requires patients and physicians to take psychological and emotional risks and to make commitments to each other. The problem is that by altering the form and content of verbal and non-verbal behaviors and by limiting the kinds of interactions that can take place, cybermedicine makes risk-free interactions easier and more commonplace and retards the development of physician compassion and patient trust. In doing so, cybermedicine encourages morally inappropriate physician–patient relationships. I argue that Merleau-Ponty''s notion of embodiment and Kierkegaard''s criticisms of disinterested reflection help us to understand how cybermedicine can undermine patient health and well being and why it should be seen as a possible threat to the moral integrity of physician–patient relationships. (shrink)
Informed consent is one of the most important ethical and legal principles in the United States, including Texas, and reflects a profound respect for individuals and their ability to make decisions in their own best interest. It is also a critical underpinning of medical practice, although how it is actually carried out has not been well studied. A survey was conducted in the private practices and a hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas to ascertain how physicians, patients (...) and patient's family members perceive and demonstrate the elements of informed consent. In-depth interviews of twelve physicians, three patients and three family members were carried out. For physicians, consent was an explicit and implicit aspect of virtually all medical practice. Physicians would seek patient input concerning medical decisions whenever possible and might also discuss care choices with families. However, they often made decisions based upon what they perceived as the patient's best interests. Patients expected the physician to involve them in the decision process, but whether they turned to family members, or even others to assist them, varied considerably. Although Texas physicians respect the competent patient as the primary decision maker, they may bypass a formal surrogate decision maker to gain input from others, including their own view of what is in the patient's best interest. (shrink)
A review of the philosophical debate on theoretical models for the physician-patient relationship over the past fifteen years may point to some of the more productive questions for future research. Contractual models have been criticized for promoting a legalistic and minimalistic image of the relationship, such that another form of model (such as convenant) is required. Shifting from a contractual to a contractarian model (in keeping with Rawls' notion of an original position) provides an adequate response to many (...) criticisms of this type. A deeper criticism, however, is one that advocates a shift to a virtue-based approach. A creative amalgam between a contractarian model and elements of the virtue-based approach, combined with appropriate empirical investigation, may yield richer models in the future. (shrink)
In the practice of medicine there has long been a conflict between patient management and respect for patient autonomy. In recent years this conflict has taken on a new form as patient management has increasingly been shifted from physicians to insurers, employers, and health care bureaucracies. The consequence has been a diminshment of both physician and patient autonomy and a parallel diminishment of medical record confidentiality. Although the new managers pay lip service to the rights (...) of patients to confidentiality of their records, in fact they advocate very liberal medical records access policies. They argue that a wide range of parties has a need to know the contents of individually identifiable medical records in order to control costs, promote quality of care, and undertake research in the public interest. Broad interpretations of the need to know, however, are at odds with strict interpretations of the right to confidentiality. Strict confidentiality policies require that, with few exceptions, patient consent be obtained whenever a patient's record is used outside the treatment context. The traditional criterion for overriding the consent requirement has been that without the override some harm would directly result. This rule is now challenged by the claim that patients have a duty to make their records available for a wide range of research and public health purposes. The longstanding tension between physician responsibility for patient welfare and respect for patient autonomy is being replaced by a debatable requirement that both physician and patient autonomy be subordinated to the goals of data collection and analysis. (shrink)
The following article is a response to the position paper of the Hastings Center, "Ethical Challenges of Chronic Illness", a product of their three year project on Ethics and Chronic Care. The authors of this paper, three prominent bioethicists, Daniel Callahan, Arthur Caplan, and Bruce Jennings, argue that there should be a different ethic for acute and chronic care. In pressing this distinction they provide philosophical grounds for limiting medical care for the elderly and chronically ill. We give a critical (...) survey of their position and reject it as well as any attempt to characterize the physician-patient relationship as a commercial contract. We emphasize, as central features of good medical practice, a commitment to be the patient's agent and a determination to acquire and be guided by knowledge. These commitments may sometimes conflict with efforts to have the physician serve as an instrument of social and economic policies limiting medical care. Keywords: acute, agent, autonomy, chronic, knowledge, obligations, rights CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and medical residents constitute an increasingly significant part of the American health care workforce, yet patient assent to be seen by nonphysicians is only presumed and seldom sought. In order to assess the willingness of patients to receive medical care provided by nonphysicians, we administered provider preference surveys to a random sample of patients attending three emergency departments (EDs). Concurrently, a survey was sent to a random selection of ED residents and PAs. (...) All respondents were to assume the role of patient when presented with hypothetical clinical scenarios and standardized provider definitions. Despite presumptions to the contrary, ED patients are generally unwilling to be seen by PAs, NPs, and residents. While seldom asked in practice, 79.5% of patients fully expect to see a physician regardless of acuity or potential for cost savings by seeing another provider. Patients are more willing to see residents than nonphysicians. (shrink)
When may a physician enroll a patient in clinical research? An adequate answer to this question requires clarification of trust-based obligations of the state and the physician-researcher respectively to the patient-subject. The state relies on the voluntarism of patient-subjects to advance the public interest in science. Accordingly, it is obligated to protect the agent-neutral interests of patient-subjects through promulgating standards that secure these interests. Component analysis is the only comprehensive and systematic specification of regulatory (...) standards for benefit-harm evaluation by research ethics committees (RECs). Clinical equipoise, a standard in component analysis, ensures the treatment arms of a randomised control trial are consistent with competent medical care. It thus serves to protect agent-neutral welfare interests of the patient-subject. But REC review occurs prior to enrolment, highlighting the independent responsibility of the physician-researcher to protect the agent-relative welfare interests of the patient-subject. In a novel interpretation of the duty of care, we argue for a “clinical judgment principle” which requires the physician-researcher to exercise judgment in the interests of the patient-subject taking into account evidence on treatments and the patient-subject‘s circumstances. (shrink)
By considering the nature of the relationship between patient and healer, The Healing Bond explores the responsibilities of both, with a special emphasis on the therapeutic responsibility. The editors and contributors examine both orthodox and unorthodox forms of healing practice and apply a variety of professional and analytic perspectives to the medical profession as a whole. They look at specific areas of health such as midwifery, psychoanalysis, naturopathy, the relations between medicine and state, and the appeal of "quacks." Particular (...) issues of current concern are also discussed, including medical litigation, codes of ethics among complementary practitioners and cooperation between orthodox and complementary medicine practitioners. Contributors: Mary Douglas, Calliope Farsides, David Peters, Roy Porter, Richenda Power, Margaret Stacey, Robert Sumerling, and Gillian Vanhegan. (shrink)
Some of the human relations of doctor and patient, by D.L. Edsall.--The care of patients. Its psychological aspects, by C.F. Martin.--The medical education of Jones, by Smith, by W.S. Thayer.--The significance of illness, by A.F. Riggs.--Some psychological observations by the surgeon, by F. G. Balch.--Human nature and its reaction to suffering, by L.K. Lunt.--The care of the aged, by A. Worcester.--The care of the dying, by A. Worcester.--Attention to personality in sex hygiene, by A. Worcester.
In this companion volume to their 1981 work, A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice, Pellegrino and Thomasma examine the principle of beneficence and its role in the practice of medicine. Their analysis, which is grounded in a thorough-going philosophy of medicine, addresses a wide array of practical and ethical concerns that are a part of health care decision-making today. Among these issues are the withdrawing and withholding of nutrition and hydration, competency assessment, the requirements for valid surrogate decision-making, quality-of-life determinations, (...) the allocation of scarce health care resources, medical gatekeeping, and for-profit medicine. The authors argue for the restoration of beneficence (re-interpreted as beneficence-in-trust) to its place as the fundamental principle of medical ethics. They maintain that to be guided by beneficence a physician must perform a right and good healing action which is consonant with the individual patient's values. In order to act in the patient's best interests, or the patient's good, the physician and patient must discern what that good is. This knowledge is gained only through a process of dialogue between patient and/or family and physician which respects and honors the patient's autonomous self-understanding and choice in the matter of treatment options. This emphasis on a dialogical discernment of the patient's good rejects the assumption long held in medicine that what is considered to be the medical good is necessarily the good for this patient. In viewing autonomy as a necessary condition of beneficence, the authors move beyond a trend in the medical ethics literature which identifies beneficence with paternalism. In their analysis of beneficence, the authors reject the current emphasis on rights- and duty-based ethical systems in favor of a virtue-based theory which is grounded in the physician-patient relationship. This book's provocative contributions to medical ethics will be of great interest not only to physicians and other health professionals, but also to ethicists, students, patients, families, and all others concerned with the relationship of professional to patient and patient to professional in health care today. (shrink)
In this issue of the Report, Daniel Groll suggests new ways to understand old tensions between autonomy and paternalism. He categorizes disagreements between doctors and patients in four ways. Some are about the ends or goals of medical treatment. For these, he claims, patient choices are based upon patient values, and physicians should neither challenge nor assess them. More common are disagreements about the appropriate means to achieve an agreed-upon goal. These subdivide into two distinct categories—those in which (...) the relative efficacy of possible means is “medically assessable” and those in which it is not. When disagreements are medically assessable, Groll argues, doctors can legitimately challenge patient .. (shrink)
In this expanded edition, an accomplished physician and teacher of medicine discusses the importance of being a caring doctor, especially now that the focus of medicine is increasingly on technological innovation and health care costs. With wisdom and compassion, Dr. Jerome Lowenstein tells stories about relationships between medical students and their teachers, physicians and their patients. He reflects on what doctors learn from treating chronic illness; how they respond to patients' needs for reassurance; how they bear the burden of (...) treating patients with life-threatening or degenerative disease; whether the distinction between traditional and "alternative" medical treatment is ultimately beneficial or destructive; and many other issues. Dr. Lowenstein's ruminations on humanistic approaches to learning and practicing medicine will be treasured by physicians, medical students, and patients alike. (shrink)
This paper concerns itself with the concept of diminished competence with particular regard to the problems and options that mentally compromised patients raise for medical management. It proceeds through three general stages: (1) a restatement of the sense and grounds of the new patients' rights ethos which the existence of such patients calls into question; (2) a consideration of what expanded responsibilities and tactics physicians should embrace to protect and enhance such patients' autonomy; and (3) the standards, criteria, and mechanisms (...) by which paternalistic interventions might be justified in cases when the diminishment remains too substantial to merit acceptance of the patients' directives. (shrink)
Charles Taylor's retrieval of an expressivist understanding of persons, and of language as constitutive of meaning, contains promising insights for restoring moral connectedness between patients and physicians.
A young man, terminally ill and in extreme suffering, asks to be removed from life support, requesting morphine first so he'll be asleep when the machine stops. His physician agrees, but the hospital's chief administrator intervenes, arguing that the morphine might itself cause death, leaving the physician open to criminal indictment for murder. To placate the administrator, the doctor and patient reach a grim compromise: life support will be disconnected first, and only after manifest signs of suffering (...) appear will the physician administer the morphine, to alleviate pain. The patient's request is ultimately respected, but many staff members feel he has been made to suffer needlessly. This is just one of many cases Ruth Macklin discusses in Enemies of Patients, an eye-opening look at the growing number of forces that are hostile to the interests of patients, including hospital administrators, lawyers who represent hospitals, insurance companies, government regulations, and even some well intentioned physicians. Macklin, a highly regarded medical ethicist, the author of Mortal Choices and the subject of a New York Times Magazine cover story, provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the patient's ethical rights are often violated. She describes, for instance, how a new breed of hospital administrator, the risk manager, acts consistently as an enemy of the patient, often urging physicians to continue aggressive, expensive treatments for critically ill patients--even when the patient and doctor agree the treatment should cease--for fear of lawsuits, bad publicity, or criminal indictment. (Macklin points out, for instance, that even though no physician has ever been convicted of a crime for withdrawing treatment from a patient in a permanent vegetative state, hospital lawyers and risk managers regularly assert that there is a danger of criminal liability in such cases.) The government also can become an enemy of patients. The most egregious case, according to Macklin, is the Federal government's "gag rule" which has prohibited health care facilities that receive Title X funds from discussing abortion with pregnant women, violating the patient's right to full information. And physicians themselves can become enemies of patients. Some, seeing themselves as fiscal gatekeepers, ration expensive health care procedures on financial rather than medical grounds. Some physicians refuse to treat patients who don't follow their advice (a cardiologist, for instance, who will not take care of patients who smoke) and others won't treat patients who pose a threat of lawsuit (such as a California woman in need of life-sustaining dialysis, who had previously sued another physician). Packed with numerous case histories drawn from the author's experience in a major urban medical center, Enemies of Patients will give readers a better understanding of their rights as patients and show them how to forge an alliance with their doctors against common enemies. (shrink)
In an era of transition and tension in American health care, Dorothy M. Owens offers a model of empathic communication that benefits both patients and physicians. Drawing from concepts in the domains of psychology and theology, she constructs a model of empathy that is ethical and reciprocal. An integrated model of empathy recognizes the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social nature of human beings. Empathy is a clinically useful, time-effective communication skill that can be taught in medical and pastoral education. Dr. (...) Owens's unique approach to empathy is applicable to other professional and personal relationships as well. (shrink)
It has been argued that voluntary euthanasia (VE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are morally wrong. Yet, a gravely suffering patient might insist that he has a moral right to the procedures even if they were morally wrong. There are also philosophers who maintain that an agent can have a moral right to do something that is morally wrong. In this article, I assess the view that a suffering patient can have a moral right to VE and PAS (...) despite the moral wrongness of the procedures in light of the main argument for a moral right to do wrong found in recent philosophical literature. I maintain that the argument does not provide adequate support for such a right to VE and PAS. (shrink)
Here is a thoroughly updated edition of a classic in palliative medicine. Two new chapters have been added to the 1991 edition, along with a new preface summarizing where progress has been made and where it has not in the area of pain management. This book addresses the timely issue of doctor-patient relationships arguing that the patient, not the disease, should be the central focus of medicine. Included are a number of compelling patient narratives. Praise for the (...) first edition "Well written. . .should be read by everyone in medical practice or considering a career in medicine."---JAMA. "Memorable passages, important ideas, and critical analysis. This is a book that clinicians and educators should read."---New England Journal of Medicine. (shrink)
Protecting the Vulnerable explores the reality of patient control and choice in health care and analyzes how decisions should be made on behalf of those deemed incapable of making decisions. The contributors, distinguished experts from the disciplines of medicine, ethics, theology, and law, look at the complex problem of autonomy and consent in health care and clinical research today from an illuminating perspective--its impact on the vulnerable members of society. The essays move from the exploration of lingering paternalism in (...) health care to the acute dilemma of treatment of and research on newborn babies. In covering both general and specific problems the collection reveals how exploitation can occur when the right of autonomy is eroded and where informed consent is illusory. Particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and people with mental handicaps, are discussed alongside cases where the vulnerability is itself an issue. Other areas covered include: `gesture' suicides, the practical problems of doctors in dealing with dependent patients, and the limits of proxy consent. All health care professionals, ethicists, policy makers, and lawyers currently engaged in the study or practice of health care ethics will find Protecting the Vulnerable to be a vital source of information for many years to come. (shrink)
Medical error is a leading problem of health care in the United States. Each year, more patients die as a result of medical mistakes than are killed by motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. While most government and regulatory efforts are directed toward reducing and preventing errors, the actions that should follow the injury or death of a patient are still hotly debated. According to Nancy Berlinger, conversations on patient safety are missing several important components: religious voices, (...) traditions, and models. In After Harm, Berlinger draws on sources in theology, ethics, religion, and culture to create a practical and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of patients, families, and clinicians affected by medical error. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging fallibility, telling the truth, confronting feelings of guilt and shame, and providing just compensation. After Harm adds important human dimensions to an issue that has profound consequences for patients and health care providers. (shrink)
Truth, Trust and Medicine investigates the notion of trust and honesty in medicine, and questions whether honesty and openness are of equal importance in maintaining the trust necessary in doctor-patient relationships. Jackson begins with the premise that those in the medical profession have a basic duty to be worthy of the trust their patients place in them. Yet questions of the ethics of withholding information and consent and covert surveillance in care units persist. This book boldly addresses these questions (...) which disturb our very modern notions of a patient's autonomy, self-determination and informed consent. (shrink)
Disciplining doctors : medical courts of honour and professional conduct -- Medical confidentiality : the debate on private versus public interests -- Patient information and consent : self-determination versus paternalism -- Duties and habitus of a doctor : the literature on medical ethics.
Objectives: The aims of this study were to: (1) investigate patients’ views on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS), and (2) examine the impact of question wording and patients’ own definitions on their responses. Design: Cross-sectional survey of consecutive patients with cancer. Setting: Newcastle (Australia) Mater Hospital Outpatients Clinic. Participants: Patients over 18 years of age, attending the clinic for follow-up consultation or treatment by a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist or haematologist. Main Outcome Measures: Face-to-face patient interviews were conducted (...) examining attitudes to euthanasia and PAS. Results: 236 patients with cancer (24% participation rate; 87% consent rate) were interviewed. Though the majority of participants supported the idea of euthanasia, patient views varied significantly according to question wording and their own understanding of the definition of euthanasia. Conclusions: Researchers need to be circumspect about framing and interpreting questions about support of ‘euthanasia’, as the term can mean different things to different people, and response may depend upon the specifics of the question asked. (shrink)
Contemporary health care often lacks generosity of spirit, even when treatment is most efficient. Too many patients are left unhappy with how they are treated, and too many medical professionals feel estranged from the calling that drew them to medicine. Arthur W. Frank tells the stories of ill people, doctors, and nurses who are restoring generosity to medicine--generosity toward others and to themselves. The Renewal of Generosity evokes medicine as the face-to-face encounter that comes before and after diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and (...) surgeries. Frank calls upon the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin to reflect on stories of ill people, doctors, and nurses who transform demoralized medicine into caring relationships. He presents their stories as a source of consolation for both ill and professional alike and as an impetus to changing medical systems. Frank shows how generosity is being renewed through dialogue that is more than the exchange of information. Dialogue is an ethic and an ideal for people on both sides of the medical encounter who want to offer more to those they meet and who want their own lives enriched in the process. The Renewal of Generosity views illness and medical work with grace and compassion, making an invaluable contribution to expanding our vision of suffering and healing. (shrink)
The relationship between the physician and the pharmaceutical detail man is discussed. Specific emphasis is given to an analysis of the ethical implications that this relationship has for patient care.
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: why focus on informed consent?; 2. Deciding who decides: capacity and consent; 3. Putting the informed into 'informed consent': information and decision-making; 4. Freedom of expression: the voluntary nature of consent; 5. A patient's prerogative? The continuing nature of consent; 6. Concluding words about consent; Index.
The U.S. Supreme Court's seminal 1978 Bakke decision, now 25 years old, has an ambiguous and endangered legacy. Justice Lewis Powell's opinion provided a justification that allowed leaders in medical education to pursue some affirmative action policies while at the same time undermining many other potential defenses. Powell asserted that medical schools might have a "compelling interest" in the creation of a diverse student body. But Powell's compromise jeopardized affirmative action since it blocked many justifications for responding to increases (...) in political opposition and legal challenges. The Bakke decision and itsmoral background and legal legacy are traced and analyzed. Despite recent legal setbacks, the framework sketched by Powell can be used to defend diversity inmedical education bothmorally and legally as a "compelling state interest." Because trust is a central component of the physician-patient relationship and a prerequisite to the profession's ability to provide effectivemedical care, the state has a compelling interest in training physicians with whom patients can feel comfortable and safe if the population is (1) distrustful; (2) underserved; (3) faces significant discrimination in the allocation of benefits, goods and services and (4) affirmative action programs would be likely to promote their trust in the system. Similar narrowly-tailored arguments could be used in other professions and for other groups. Bakke is an important background for the pending Grutter case. (shrink)
Trust in the doctor-patient relationship is an indispensable structural element for the medical profession. The discourse concerning trust and its importance in the healthcare context, although quite old, elicits increasingly more interest in research, especially for empirical approaches. The importance of trust in the doctor and in the medical profession can be demonstrated by starting from the Christian meaning of illness and medicine ; generally, the patristic sources see medicine and physicians as God’s gifts. T he perception of Christian (...) physicians as dedicated, unselﬁsh and compassionate preservers or restorers of health, always committed to the good of their patients is well known. The model of the Christian physician is a Hippocratic model, of one who seeks the sick so that he may bring relief to them and strengthen them. When illness occurs, Christianity affirms an ethical duty to struggle against sickness, which if unaddressed can lead to death. The moral requirement to care for the health of the body indicates it is appropriate to use healing methods that will enhance health and maintain life. The aim of this paper is to explore the dimensions of the concept of trust in the doctor-patient relationship, by starting from the Christian meaning of illness and of the role of the doctor. The paper presents a number of essential theoretical elements related to trust, as presented in the literature dealing with the doctor-patient relationship: the meaning of trust, its dimensions, its stages of development, its impact, its sources, the patient’s perspectives on trust, the importance of trust for healthcare systems. (shrink)
These essays bring medical discoveries from ancient times to landmarks in modern medicine, and take the reader to twenty-first century biogenetics and molecular biology. This unique volume focuses on medical science as an art of healing, where modern medicine is not just restricted to science and technology.
The recent confirmation of the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by the US Supreme Court has brought to the fore long-standing debates over individual liberty and religious freedom. Advocates of personal liberty are often critical, particularly in the USA, of public health measures which they deem to be overly restrictive of personal choice. In addition to the alleged restrictions of individual freedom of choice when it comes to the question of whether or (...) not to purchase health insurance, opponents to the PPACA also argue that certain requirements of the Act violate the right to freedom of conscience by mandating support for services deemed immoral by religious groups. These issues continue the long running debate surrounding the demands of religious groups for special consideration in the realm of health care provision. In this paper I examine the requirements of the PPACA, and the impacts that religious, and other ideological, exemptions can have on public health, and argue that the exemptions provided for by the PPACA do not in fact impose unreasonable restrictions on religious freedom, but rather concede too much and in so doing endanger public health and some important individual liberties. (shrink)
Debate about physician-assisted suicide has typically focused on the values of autonomy and patient well-being. Margaret Battin, Rosamond Rhodes and Anita Silvers note that both those in favour of legalizing physician-assisted suicide and those who want this activity to be legally prohibited claim these values in support of their case. This is understandable, even reasonable, given the importance of these values in bioethics. However, these are not the only moral values there are. The purpose of this paper (...) is to examine physician-assisted suicide on the basis of the values of equality and justice. In particular, I evaluate two arguments that invoke equality, one in favour of physician-assisted suicide, one against it, and I argue that a convincing equality-based argument in support of physician-assisted suicide is available. I conclude by showing how an equality-based perspective transforms some secondary features of debate about this issue. (shrink)
This essay argues that philosophical phenomenology can provide important insights into the patient-physician relationship. In particular, it is noted that the physician and patient encounter the experience of illness from within the context of different "worlds", each "world" providing a horizon of meaning. Such phenomenological notions as focusing, habits of mind, finite provinces of meaning, and relevance are shown to be central to the way these "worlds" are constituted. An eidetic interpretation of illness is proposed. Such (...) an interpretation discloses certain essential characteristics that pertain to the experience of illness, per se , regardless of its manifestation in terms of a particular disease state. It is suggested that, if a shared world of meaning is to be constituted between physician and patient, the eidetic characteristics of illness must be recognized by the physician. Keywords: phenomenology, patient-physician relationship, illness-as-lived, habits of mind, relevance, eidetic CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
When a patient fails to follow the advice or prescription of a physician, she is termed to be "noncompliant" by the medical community. The medical community’s response to and understanding of patient noncompliance fails to acknowledge noncompliance as either a relational failure between physician and patient or as a patient choice. I offer an analysis of Immanuel Kant and Emmanuel Levinas that refocuses the issue of noncompliance by examining the physician role, the doctor– (...) class='Hi'>patient relationship, and the nature of responsibility. (shrink)
Managed care poses a challenge to the traditional conceptualization of medicine and of the physician-patient relationship. People have evaluated the merits of managed care by focusing upon the way its incentives alter the relationship between physician and patient. However, this misses the key to rightly evaluating MCOs. To address the ethics of MCOs one should focus on the institution-patient relationship, and this has not been sufficiently addressed in the literature. I will address this relationship here (...) and show how the institution-patient relationship has evolved, why it has become increasingly prominent, and why we must move beyond business ethics for rightly understanding it. (shrink)
Scientific authority and physician authority are both challenged by Thomas Kuhn's concept of incommensurability. If competing "paradigms" or "world views" cannot rationally be compared, we have no means to judge the truth of any particular view. However, the notion of local or partial incommensurability might provide a framework for understanding the implications of contemporary philosophy of science for medicine. We distinguish four steps in the process of translating medical science into clinical decisions: the doing of the science, the appropriation (...) of the scientific findings by the clinician, the transfer of the findings from the clinician to the patient, and the choice of a treatment regimen. Incommensurability can play a role in each stage. There is at least some theory- and value-ladenness in science that is dependent on the world view of those who construct the scientific theories. Clinicians who must use the results of scientific research will inevitably interpret the research from the standpoint of their own world view. There may be further incommensurability when these data are communicated to the patient. Finally, clinician and patient values must come into play in any decision about choice of treatment. No stage of medical research or practice is value-free. This position does not imply relativism; some scientific accounts are better than others. However, the challenge of the incommensurabilists shows that further analysis is needed to establish how particular accounts are better or worse. Keywords: incommensurability, Kuhn, paradigm, relativism, realism, world view, fact/value distinction CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The use of recent research on variations in medical practice to promote competitive market oriented cost containment strategies is critically examined. Research demonstrating widespread variations in physician practices for similar patient populations undermines the medical profession's claims about the scientific objectivity of medical practice and indicates the existence of widespread waste and inappropriate utilization of health care resources. Cost containment programs which rely on market-based care avoidance incentives, such as Medicare prospective payment or cost sharing plans, attempt to (...) impact medical practice variations by creating economic barriers between doctor and patient. An alternative interpretation of research on practice variations is presented, emphasizing containing costs while improving quality of care and achieving greater equity through planning and regulation of medical supply factors. (shrink)
Little attention has been given in medical ethics literature to issues relating to the truthfulness of patients. Beginning with an actual medical case, this paper first explores truth-telling by doctors and patients as related to two prominent models of the physician-patient relationship. Utilizing this discussion and the literature on the truthfulness and accuracy of the information patients convey to doctors, these models are then critically assessed. It is argued that the patient agency (patient autonomy or contractual) (...) model is inherently and seriously flawed in numerous circumstances, even those involving informed and competent adult patients. Keywords: truth-telling, doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics, paternalism, autonomy, patient compliance, patients as agents, informed consent CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the desires that play a role at the palliative stage and relate them to various approaches to patient autonomy. What attitude can physicians and other caregivers take to the desires of patients at the palliative stage? We examine this question by introducing five physicians who are consulted by Jackie, an imaginary patient with metastatic lung carcinoma. By combining the models of the physician-patient relationship developed by Emanuel and Emanuel (1992) and the (...) Hellenistic approaches to desires analyzed by Nussbaum (1994), five different ways of dealing with desires in the context of palliative care are sketched. The story of Jackie shows that desires are to a certain extent responsive to reasoning. In the palliative process, that can be a reason to devote attention to the desires of patients and caregivers and to determine which desires need to be fulfilled, which are less important, and how they are linked to emotions the patient has. (shrink)
The NHS is an institution of great importance to everybody in the UK - not only doctors, nurses and other health professionals, but also to patients, carers and their families. However, problems within the NHS are regularly reported in the media and we are all anxious about waiting lists, about whether potential illnesses will be identified treated in time, about bleeding to death on trollies in corridors or being struck down by antibiotic-resistant superbugs. This engaging book aims to explore and (...) simplify the issues from both sides of the NHS - professionals and patients - and to improve mutual understanding of the problems, which will hopefully spark an open debate about the future of health service provision. The book uses an innovative fictionalized account of the experiences of 'case study' individuals in the healthcare system, including a GP with depression, a woman with MS and a hospital manager whose wife has cancer. This book will be essential and enjoyable reading for anyone workingwithin the healthcare system, as well as patients and their families and anyone interested in the workings of the NHS. (shrink)
In the late twentieth century the impressive achievements of modern medicine are obvious, yet medicine seems to have failed to satisfy public expectation. Government regulation of hospitals and doctors is tightening in most Western countries and health funding is a divisive political issue. Medical complaints departments are increasingly busy. In the United States medical litigation has reached alarming levels, and a similar trend can be seen in other developed countries. Is there something wrong with medical research and practice? This book, (...) written by a surgeon with more than thirty years experience of clinical medicine, examines what it is that doctors do, and what it is that patients expect of them. It finds that in the face of uncertainty, expectation and reality ofen often diverge. Starting from the communication difficulties that exist between doctors and patients, Humane Medicine explores the roles of science, ethics and the humanities in medical practice. It forcefully argues that more science cannot heal this rift, nor can better education in ethics. To foster better communication, medical teachers must change their philosophy and methods, so that value-laden issues in clinical medicine are interwoven with the necessary science. Professor Little outlines some possible ways to achieve this. This important book will be of interest to medical students and their teachers, clinicians, health policy planners and other readers concerned about the direction of the medical profession. (shrink)
This article comments on the treatment of critical-care ethics in four preceding articles about critical-care medicine and its ethical challenges in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines. These articles show how cultural values can be in both synchrony and conflict in generating these ethical challenges and in the constraints that they place on the response of critical-care ethics to them. To prevent ethical conflict in critical care the author proposes a two-step approach to the ethical jus tification of (...) critical-care management: (1) the decision to resuscitate and initiate critical-care management, which is based on the obligation to prevent imminent mortality without permanent loss of consciousness; and (2) the decision to continue critical-care management, which is based on the obligation both to prevent imminent death without permanent loss of consciousness and to avoid unnecessary, significant iatrogenic costs to the patient and psychosocial costs to the family when the reduction of morta lity risk is marginal. Physicians and hospitals should restore the critical-care physician's authority and power - against prevailing cultural values, if necessary - to control when critical-care intervention is offered, when it is recommended to continue, and when it is recommended to be discontinued and the patient allowed to die. (shrink)
In this article, I shall present three arguments for thc pcrmissibility 0f physician-assisted suicide (PAS), and then examine several objections 0f 21 "K21nti2m" and non-Kantian nature against them. These are really 0bjcctions against certain types of suicide. I shall focus 0n active PAS (eg., when 21 patient takes 21 lethal drug given by E1 physician, in which case both thc physician and patient are active). I shall assume the patient is 21 competent, responsible, rational (...) agent, who gives his being in physical discomfort (pain, nausea, ctc.) as thc reason for intending his death. I am assuming, therefore, thc pain while 21 sourcc of suffering docs not undermine his rational agency in 21 way that threatens responsibility for choice.] Current legal proposals for permitting PAS focus 0n procedures.. (shrink)
Respect for autonomy is typically considered a key reason for allowing physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. However, several recent papers have claimed this to be grounded in a misconception of the normative relevance of autonomy. It has been argued that autonomy is properly conceived of as a value, and that this makes assisted suicide as well as euthanasia wrong, since they destroy the autonomy of the patient. This paper evaluates this line of reasoning by investigating the conception of (...) valuable autonomy. Starting off from the current debate in end-of-life care, two different interpretations of how autonomy is valuable is discussed. According to one interpretation, autonomy is a personal prudential value, which may provide a reason why euthanasia and assisted suicide might be against a patient’s best interests. According to a second interpretation, inspired by Kantian ethics, being autonomous is unconditionally valuable, which may imply a duty to preserve autonomy. We argue that both lines of reasoning have limitations when it comes to situations relevant for end-of life care. It is concluded that neither way of reasoning can be used to show that assisted suicide or euthanasia always is impermissible. (shrink)
Theoretical models for physician-patient communication in clinical practice are described in literature, but none of them seems adequate for solving the communication problem in clinical practice that emerges in case of factitious disorder. Theoretical models generally imply open communication and respect for the autonomy of the patient. In factitious disorder, the physician is confronted by lies and (self)destructive behaviour of the patient, who in one way or another tries to involve the physician in this (...) behaviour. It is no longer controversial that the physician should communicate his consideration of a factitious disorder without insistence that the patient accepts this diagnosis. However, the balance between patient autonomy and open communication on the one hand, and the preservation of the patient's health, physician integrity and of a constructive physician-patient relationship on the other is easily disrupted. In this article, an epistemological model is described to facilitate a positive outcome of confrontation in treatment of factitious disorder. Analysing the problem in terms of systems theory will help the physician to assess what information is appropriate to use in which phase of the patient's treatment, while preserving the physician-patient relationship. (shrink)
The prevailing wisdom is that improving patient access to physician services is essential to promoting the public's health. This article suggests that, ironically, one effect of the 2010 federal health reform legislation may be to discourage physicians from serving the statute's intended beneficiaries, thereby exacerbating the access problem. The article examines several potential approaches to addressing this problem, comparing — from legal and policy perspectives — strategies based on legal conscription of physician services versus strategies that instead (...) would rely on incentivizing physician participation in serving otherwise access-impaired populations. The author argues in favor of the latter approach rather than one based on use of governmental force. (shrink)
: Bioethicists have articulated an ideal of shared decision making between physician and patient, but in doing so the role of clinical uncertainty has not been adequately confronted. In the face of uncertainty about the patient's prognosis and the best course of treatment, many physicians revert to a model of nondisclosure and nondiscussion, thus closing off opportunities for shared decision making. Empirical studies suggest that physicians find it more difficult to adhere to norms of disclosure in situations (...) where there is substantial uncertainty. They may be concerned that acknowledging their own uncertainty will undermine patient trust and create additional confusion and anxiety for the patient. We argue, in contrast, that effective disclosure will protect patient trust in the long run and that patients can manage information about uncertainty. In situations where there is substantial uncertainty, extra vigilance is required to ensure that patients are given the tools and information they need to participate in cooperative decision making about their care. (shrink)
This study investigated patient preferences for various types of physician persuasion strategies. Four types of persuasion strategies were utilized which involved combination of high and low levels of affectivity and information. In addition, patient variables, receiver apprehension and health beliefs were introduced to predict preference choices by patients. Results indicated that patients are influenced in their decision-making (preferences) by the type of persuasive strategy employed. Further, patients with different characteristics and predispositions prefer different persuasive strategies. The results (...) of this study suggest that the success of physician persuasiveness is dependent upon the type of strategy used and the type of patient being persuaded. (shrink)
The prevailing view in bioethics is that the relationship between doctors and their patients was largely a silent one before the landmark court decisions of the twentieth century. Some have proposed that this was not always the case. This paper provides historical evidence of consent and negotiation in one nineteenth century gynecological practice. The Clinical Records and writings of Dr. Alexander J.C. Skene, who practiced in Brooklyn, New York from 1863 to 1900, have been examined for evidence of discussion, (...) consent and even negotiation with patients. Although this evidence comes from only one practice, it is especially significant because it was largely a gynecological practice with women who were varied in socioeconomic status and ethnic origin. The importance of documenting physician-patient relationships which included patients in decision-making before Schloendorff (1914) established the legal doctrine of informed consent cannot be underestimated. (shrink)
This essay critically evaluates the claim that competition in medicine destroys the moral integrity of the traditional patient-physician relationship. The author argues that the traditional patient-centered ethic is indefensible on moral grounds, and that it should be jettisoned in favor of a fiduciary ethic. A fiduciary ethic is found to provide the best defensible account of the patient-physician relationship because it takes seriously the roles economic efficiency, competition, and respect for individual self-determination play in fashioning (...) moral health care delivery. Keywords: competition, patient-physician relationship, fiduciary ethic, patient-centered ethic CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Although much has been written about how physicians react to their own illness, the subject of how health-care workers react differently to sick physicians compared to ordinary patients is largely unstudied (Klitzman 2008; Mandell and Spiro 1987; Mullan 1985; Pinner and Miller 1952; Sachs 1989; Schneck 1998). As a senior physician-administrator admitted to my hospital for a major illness, I was treated as a physician-administrator and local celebrity, rather than an ordinary patient, by everybody from physicians to (...) janitors. Positive features of this special treatment included a complimentary private room, a magnificent bouquet of flowers, and great respect by hospital personnel. However, this special treatment .. (shrink)
While ethicists have directed much attention to controversial biomedical issues--including euthanasia, abortion, and genetic engineering--they have largely ignored the less obvious, but more pervasive, everyday ethical problems faced by family physicians. Ethical Issues in Family Medicine addresses these problems, offering an ethics that reflects the distinctive features of family practice, and helping family physicians to appreciate the extent to which ethical issues influence their practice.