Is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Ever Ethically Justified? If so, Under What Circumstances

HEC Forum 25 (1):79-94 (2013)

The debate about ECT in Ireland in recent times has been vibrant and often polarised. The uniqueness of the Irish situation is that the psychiatric profession is protected by legislation whereby ECT treatment can be authorized by two consultant psychiatrists without the consent of the patient. This paper will consider if ECT is ever ethically justified, and if so, under what circumstances. The proposal is to investigate ECT from an ethical perspective with reference to the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The enquiry will begin with an historical context to the origin and development of ECT as a treatment for severe mental illness. The application of various ethical principles will be considered in conjunction with the relevant literature before arriving at a conclusion
Keywords UNESCO universal declaration on bioethics and human rights  Electroconvulsive therapy  ECT  Ireland  Psychiatry  Mental illness  Ethical principles  Informed consent
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-012-9182-0
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Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Nicomachean Ethics.C. C. W. Taylor, Aristotle & Terence Irwin - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (2):247.

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