Reflections of a reluctant clinical ethicist: Ethics consultation and the collapse of critical distance

The obvious appeal and growing momentum of clinical ethics in academic medical centers should not blind us to a potential danger: the collapse of critical distance. The very integration into the clinical milieu and the processes of clinical decision making, that clinical ethics claims as its greatest success, carries the seeds of a dilution of ethics' critical stance toward medicine and medical education. The purpose of this paper is to suggest how this might occur, and what potential contributions of ethics to medicine might be sacrificed as a result. Medical sociology will be used for comparison. Sociologists have found that they may function either as students and critics of established medical practices and educational philosophies, or as collaborative participants in them — but rarely both. It may be that professional ethics is most effective when it plays the role of stranger rather than insider, and is continually able to question the most basic assumptions and values of the enterprise with which it is associated. As with medical sociology, ethics and humanities must ask to what extent their desire for acceptance in the clinic requires their acceptance of the clinic: specifically, acceptance of basic assumptions about optimal ways of organizing medical education, socializing physicians-in-training, providing care, and even of defining medical ethics itself. The paper concludes by recommending that ethics reassert its strangeness in the medical milieu even as it assumes a more prominent role within the medical center
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,780
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What Kind of Doing is Clinical Ethics?George J. Agich - 2004 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (1):7-24.
Clinical Research Consultation: A Casebook.Marion Danis (ed.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Clinical Ethics as Medical Hermeneutics.David C. Thomasma - 1994 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (2).
The Clinical Ethicist at the Bedside.John Puma & David L. Schiedermayer - 1991 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 12 (2).
Making Sense of Medical Ethics: A Hands-on Guide.Alan G. Johnson - 2006 - Distributed in the U.S.A. By Oxford University Press.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
16 ( #331,530 of 2,214,651 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #239,058 of 2,214,651 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature