This paper focuses on S.A. Loyd's positive account of Hobbes's moral theory as presented in chapters 5 and 6 of her new book. My discussion challenges Lloyd's reciprocity interpretation of Hobbes's moral theory. In the paper I also take issue with Lloyd's account of the derivation of his moral theory and her account of moral obligation. I offer my own definitional reading of the derivation of the Laws of Nature and my own analysis of how Hobbes explains obligation in terms (...) of assent. (shrink)
The use of organs obtained from executed prisoners in China has recently been condemned by every major transplant organization. The government of the People's Republic of China has also recently made it illegal to provide transplant organs from executed prisoners to foreigners transplant tourists. Nevertheless, the extreme shortage of transplant organs in the U.S. continues to make organ transplantation in China an appealing option for some patients with end-stage disease. Their choice of traveling to China for an organ leaves U.S. (...) transplant programs with decisions about how to respond to the needs of patients who return after transplantation. By discussing two cases that raised this dilemma, we argue for upholding medicine's commitments to traditional principles of beneficence and nonjudgmental regard in sorting out the policies that a transplant program should adopt. We also explain how position statements that aim for the high ground of moral purity fail to give appropriate weight to the needs and suffering of present and future patients in the U.S. and in China. (shrink)
Because the process of moving from moral principles and facts to action-guiding moral conclusions has not been articulated clearly enough to be useful in a practical way, we designed a systematic approach to aid learners and clinicians in their application of ethical principles to the resolution of clinical dilemmas. Our model for clinical moral reasoning is intended to provide a clear and replicable structure that makes the thought process involved in reasoning about clinical cases explicit. In this paper we present (...) the model and demonstrate how it can be used in three clinical cases. (shrink)
The Blackwell Guide to Medical Ethics is a guide to the complex literature written on the increasingly dense topic of ethics in relation to the new technologies of medicine. Examines the key ethical issues and debates which have resulted from the rapid advances in biomedical technology Brings together the leading scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, medicine, theology and law, to discuss these issues Tackles such topics as ending life, patient choice, selling body parts, resourcing and confidentiality (...) Organized with a coherent structure that differentiates between the decisions of individuals and those of social policy. (shrink)
Contemporary research ethics policies started with reflection on the atrocities perpetrated upoconcentration camp inmates by Nazi doctors. Apparently, as a consequence of that experience, the policies that now guide human subject research focus on the protection of human subjects by making informed consent the centerpiece of regulatory attention. I take the choice of context for policy design, the initial prioritization of informed consent, and several associated conceptual missteps, to have set research ethics off in the wrong direction. The aim of (...) this paper is to sort out these confusions and their implications and to offer instead a straightforward framework for considering the ethical conduct of human subject research. In the course of this discussion I clarify different senses of autonomy that have been confounded and present more intelligible justifications for informed consent. I also take issue with several of the now accepted dogmas that govern research ethics. These include: the primacy of informed consent, the protection of the vulnerable, the substitution of beneficence for research's social purpose, and the introduction of an untenable distinction between innovation and research. (shrink)
Standard views on surrogate decision making present alternative ideal models of what ideal surrogates should consider in rendering a decision. They do not, however, explain the physician''s responsibility to a patient who lacks decisional capacity or how a physician should regard surrogates and surrogate decisions. The authors argue that it is critical to recognize the moral difference between a patient''s decisions and a surrogate''s and the professional responsibilities implied by that distinction. In every case involving a patient who lacks decisional (...) capacity, physicians and the treatment team have to make judgments about the appropriateness of both the surrogate and the surrogate''s decision. They have to assess the surrogate''s decisional capacity and attitude toward the patient as well as the reasons that support the surrogate''s decision. This paper provides a model for acceptable surrogate decisions and a standard for blocking inappropriate surrogates. Only decisions based on widely shared reasons are allowable for surrogate refusal of highly beneficial treatment. (shrink)
People who discuss medical ethics or bioethics come to very different conclusions about the levels of agreement in the field and the implications of consensus among health care professionals. In this paper I argue that these disagreements turn on a confusion of two distinct senses of medical ethics. I differentiate (1) medical ethics as a subject in applied ethics from (2) medical ethics as the professional moral commitments of health care professions. I then use the distinction to explain its significant (...) implications for medical ethics education. Drawing on the recent work of John Rawls, I also show the centrality of philosophy in medical ethics by illustrating how contemporary philosophy can be used to construct an ethical framework for the medical professions. (shrink)
Because medicine can preserve and restore health and function, it has been widely acknowledged as a basic good that a just society should provide its members. Yet there is wide disagreement over the scope of what is to be provided, to whom, how, when and why. In this uniquely comprehensive book some of the best-known philosophers, doctors, lawyers, political scientists, and economists writing on the subject discuss the concerns and deepen our understanding of the theoretical and practical issues that run (...) through the contemporary debate. The first section lays a broad theoretical basis for understanding the subject of justice, particularly as it relates to the distribution of health care. The second section critically examines how medical care is distributed in different countries around the world and the particular advantages and injustices associated with those systems. The third section draws attention to the special needs of different social groups and the specific issues of justice that are raised by the impact of various policies on health care distribution. The concluding section delves into the dilemmas that confront those designing health care systems - the politics, the priorities, and the place of desires as opposed to needs in a socially just scheme. (shrink)
As early as 1981 Gorlin and Zucker produced a film, AComplicatingFactor:Doctors'FeelingsasaFactorinMedicalCare and in a 1983 paper on the subject they described one of the important epiphenomena of the encounter between doctor and patient—namely, the reaction of the physician to the patient and how this affects both the physician and the quality of the relationship. At that time they were concerned with the physicians' ability to reckon with their own reactions to patients who presented with problems or personality traits that complicated (...) the doctor-patient relationship. Some patients were hateful or unlikable, some denied their disease state, some became unusually dependent on the physician, some were intimidating to the doctor. Their behavior evoked responses that tended to complicate the doctor-patient relationship with distancing, unusual identification, or hostility. That publication recognized and explained the problem and went on to suggest a process of achieving emotional awareness and mastery to help physicians maintain their appropriate role. (shrink)
This paper offers a constructivist account of bioethics as an alternative to previous discussions that explained the ethics of medicine by an extrapolation of principles or virtues from ordinary morality. Taking medicine as a higher and special calling, I argue that the practice of medicine would be impossible without the trust of patients. Because trust is a necessary condition for medical practice, the ethics of the profession must provide the principles for guiding physician behavior and the profession toward promoting trust (...) and being trustworthy. In a phrase, that principle is “seek trust and deserve it.” I sketch out how the concept of trust provides a different justification for common sense principles of bioethics and explain how the concept of trust provides reasonable guidance for resolving moral conflicts within medicine. The trust-seeking approach provides a new and unexpected ordering of some traditional medical values, it reveals the weightiness of previously undervalued bioethical precepts, and illuminates the centrality of some largely ignored obligations of medicine. It also has the power to guide clinical practice and to inform the profession about standards for medical institutions. (shrink)
Medicine needs our trust. We need to be able to rely on individual clinicians and researchers, and we need to be able to have confidence in hospitals and clinics. Yet the organization of our healthcare institutions is not designed to promote that trust. In fact, the structure of our medical institutions seems to undermine our faith.
Volumes have been written arguing the morality of abortion. A crucial premise in many of these arguments concerns the status of the fetus; specifically, that the fetus has or does not have a right to life. Opponents of abortion typically argue that fetuses are persons and hence have an inviolable right to life. Advocates of the right to abortion typically maintain that fetuses are not persons and hence have no right to life.
This tragic case raises two important ethical issues. One is the obvious problem of just allocation of scarce transplant organs. The other is the less obvious problem of the healthcare team's feelings of commitment to their patient. Together they present an unusual conflict for bioethics.
In modern industrial society the issue of access to healthcare is inseparable from the question of whether there is a right to healthcare and whether government has the correlative duty to assure a minimum level of care to all citizens. While discussion in terms of rights and duties tends to direct our attention to broader, more theoretical ethical issues, discussion in terms of invites consideration of more practical concerns. The news media rarely report in terms of whether a citizen's right (...) to healthcare has been abridged or disregarded, but rather offers tales of people being denied access. Advocacy groups for specific illnesses do not necessarily argue for universal health insurance, but rather press that certain conditions, such as renal failure requiring dialysis, receive unlimited insurance coverage and that people with the condition be given automatic access to care. (shrink)
Currently, some of the most significant moral issues involving genetic links relate to genetic knowledge. In this paper, instead of looking at the frequently addressed issues of responsibilities professionals or institutions have to individuals, I take up the question of what responsibilities individuals have to one another with respect to genetic knowledge. I address the questions of whether individuals have a moral right to pursue their own goals without contributing to society's knowledge of population genetics, without adding to their family's (...) knowledge of its genetic history, and without discovering genetic information about themselves and their offspring. These questions lead to an examination of the presumed right to genetic ignorance and an exploration of a variety of social bonds. Analyzing cases in light of these considerations leads to a surprising conclusion about a widely accepted precept of genetic counseling, to some ethical insights into typical problems, and to some further unanswered questions about personal responsibility in the face of genetic knowledge. (shrink)