The moral responsibility of the hospital

The hospital has legal liability. Does it also have moral responsibility? Is it a moral agent, and if so in what sense? There are two issues involved, one conceptual and the other normative. The conceptual issue is whether a hospital can be morally responsible. If seen not only as a physical facility but as a formal organization, it can be said to act rationally, choose between alternatives, and affect human beings. It thus satisfies die criteria for moral responsibility, even though it is not a person. Though moral responsibility can be attributed intelligibly to a hospital, such responsibility can be assumed only by those within it who act for it. Such responsibility is agent responsibility and may be shared in a number of ways. Hospital responsibilities can be separated from the professional moral responsibility and the personal moral responsibility held by doctors, nurses, and others within a hospital. Assuming these three types of responsibility makes possible conflicts of responsibility for those who hold them. Normatively, the moral responsibility of the hospital is appropriately limited by its purpose and is primarily administrative. It has designatable moral responsibilities to its patients, doctors and nurses, and the public. These can be distinguished from the responsibilities of doctors and nurses to the public. The responsibility of a doctor on the hospital staff is different from the responsibility of a doctor who simply practices in the hospital; that of a staff nurse from that of a private nurse. The difference is in large part a function of the one sharing die responsibility of the hospital and the other not. An analysis of a hospital's moral responsibilities suggests structures appropriate to a hospital that wishes to meet its moral responsibilities. CiteULike Connotea What's this?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jmp/7.1.87
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,702
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
What is Conscience and Why is Respect for It so Important?Daniel P. Sulmasy - 2008 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 29 (3):135-149.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

37 ( #137,516 of 2,158,461 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #193,769 of 2,158,461 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums