The Just War Tradition: A Model for Healthcare Ethics

HEC Forum 30 (2):133-152 (2018)
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Healthcare ethics committees, physicians, surgeons, nurses, families, and patients themselves are constantly under pressure to make appropriate medically ethical decisions concerning patient care. Various models for healthcare ethics decisions have been proposed throughout the years, but by and large they are focused on making the initial ethical decision. What follows is a proposed model for healthcare ethics that considers the most appropriate decisions before, during, and after any intervention. The Just War Tradition is a model that is thorough in its exploration of the ethics guiding a nation to either engage in or refuse to engage in combatant actions. In recent years, the Just War Tradition has expanded beyond the simple consideration of going to war or not to include how the war is conducted and what the post-war phase would look like ethically. This paper is an exploration of a healthcare ethics decision making model using the tenets of the Just War Tradition as a framework. It discusses the initial consult level of decision making prior to any medical intervention, then goes further in considering the ongoing ethical paradigm during medical intervention and post intervention. Thus, this proposal is a more holistic approach to healthcare ethics decision making that encourages healthcare ethics committees to consider alternate models and ways of processing so that ultimately what is best for patient, family, staff, and the environment is all taken into consideration.



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