In this essay I will examine why the truth is so important to human communication in general, the types of truth, and why truth is only a relative value. After those introductory points, I will sketch the ways in which the truth is overridden or trumped by other concerns in the clinical setting. I will then discuss cases that fall into five distinct categories. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of truth telling and its primacy among secondary goods in the healthcare (...) professional-patient relationship. (shrink)
The article offers an approach to inquiry about, the foundation of medical ethics by addressing three areas of conceptual presupposition basic to medical ethical theory. First, medical ethics must presuppose a view about the nature of medicine. it is argued that the view required by a cogent medical morality entails that medicine be seen both as a healing relationship and as a practical art. Three ways in which medicine inherently involves values and valuation are presented as important, i.e., in being (...) aimed at the good of health, in being a cognitive art evaluating towards that good, and as a manifestation of a virtuous disposition concerning that good. Finally, a value ontology drawn from these considerations is seen as necessarily underlying medical ethics. A set of three such basic values are promoted as crucial: the value of health; the value of the individual patient; and the value of altruism that mediates the class of potential patients. (shrink)
The combination of genuine ethical concerns and fear of learning to use germ-line therapy for human disease must now be confronted. Until now, no established techniques were available to perform this treatment on a human. Through an integration of several fields of science and medicine, we have developed a nine step protocol at the germ-line level for the curative treatment of a genetic disease. Our purpose in this paper is to provide the first method to apply germ-line therapy to treat (...) those not yet born, who are destined to have a life threatening, or a severely debilitating genetic disease. We hope this proposal will initiate the process of a thorough analysis from both the scientific and ethical communities. As such, this proposal can be useful for official groups studying the advantages and disadvantages of germ-line therapy. (shrink)
Our global knowledge of different cultures and the diversity of values increases almost daily. New challenges arise for ethics. This is especially true in the field of bioethics because the technological progress of medicine throughout the world is causing dramatic interactions with traditionally held values. Science and technology are rapidly advancing beyond discussions and corresponding political struggles over human rights, leaving those debates behind. This rapid development of science is at odds with the principle of sustained development that calls for (...) measured and thoughtful planning, such that no new idea should rupture the delicate fabric of communities, environment, and cultural evolution. (shrink)
The severe shortage of organs for transplantation and the continual reluctance of the public to voluntarily donate has prompted consideration of alternative strategies for organ procurement. This paper explores the development of market approaches for procuring human organs for transplantation and considers the social and moral implications of organ donation as both a gift of life and a commodity exchange. The problematic and paradoxical articulation of individual autonomy in relation to property rights and marketing human body parts is addressed. We (...) argue that beliefs about proprietorship over human body parts and the capacity to provide consent for organ donation are culturally constructed. We contend that the political and economic framework of biomedicine, in western and non-western nations, influences access to transplantation technology and shapes the form and development of specific market approaches. Finally, we suggest that marketing approaches for organ procurement are and will be negotiated within cultural parameters constrained by several factors: beliefs about the physical body and personhood, religious traditions, economic conditions, and the availability of technological resources. (shrink)
The problem of developing a moral philosophy of medicine is explored in this essay. Among the challenges posed to this development are the general mistrust of moral philosophy and philosophy in general created by post-modernist philosophical and even anti-philosophical thinking. This reaction to philosophical systematization is usually called antifoundationalism. I distinguish different forms of antifoundationalism, showing that not all forms of their opposites, foundationalism, are alike, especially with regards to claims made about the certitude of moral thought. I conclude that (...) we are correct to mistrust absolutist principles in a moral philosophy of medicine, but can find some center within the practice of medicine itself for a moral foundation. (shrink)
The exportation of Western biomedicine throughout the world has not resulted in a systematic homogenization of scientific ideology but rather in the proliferation of many forms and practices of biomedicine. Similarly, in the last decade, bioethics has become increasingly an international enterprise. Although there may be consensus regarding the inherent value of ethical discourse as it relates to health and medical care, there are disagreements about the nature and parameters of medical morality. This lack of consensus exists because our beliefs (...) about morality are culturally constituted, embedded in social, religious, and political ideologies that influence particular individuals and communities at specific historical moments. (shrink)
The emergence of new obstetrical and neonatal technologies, as well as more aggressive clinical management, has significantly improved the survival of extremely low birth weight infants. This development has heightened concerns about the limits of viability. ELBW infants, weighing less than 1,000 grams and no larger than the palm of one's hand, are often described as of late twentieth century technology. Improved survivability of ELBW infants has provided opportunities for long-term follow-up. Information on their physical and emotional development contributes to (...) developing standards of practice regarding their care. (shrink)
According to Frankena, “the moral point of view is what Alison Wilde and Heather Badcock did not have.” Most of us, however, are not such extreme examples. We are capable of the moral point of view, but we fail to take the necessary time or make the required efforts. We resist pulling ourselves from other distractions to focus on the plight of others and what we might do to ameliorate their suffering. Perhaps compassion is rooted in understanding what it is (...) that connects us with others rather than what separates us, and rests on developing sufficient awareness, to internalize what our actions, or lack of them, mean in the lives of others. (shrink)
Pellegrino's philosophy of medicine is explored in categories such as the motivation in constructing a philosophy of medicine, the method, the starting point of the doctor-patient relationship, negotiation about values in this relationship, the goal of the relationship, the moral basis of medicine, and additional concerns in the relationship (concerns such as gatekeeping, philosophical anthropology, axiology, philosophy of the body, and the general disjunction between science and morals). A critique of this philosophy is presented in the following areas: methodology, relation (...) to ontology and sociology, the dynamic of individual and social concerns, and the new social condition of medicine. Finally, some suggestions for the future revitalization of philosophy of medicine are made based on Pellegrino's ideas. The focus throughout is on the moral basis and moral consequences of the philosophy of medicine, and not on other important themes. Keywords: doctor-patient relationship, goal of medicine, medical ethics, philosophical method, philosophy of medicine, philosophy of the body, values in medicine CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Applying general and statistical knowledge to individuals is difficult either on epidemiological or epistemological grounds. This paper examines these difficulties from the perspective of computer registers of epidemiological data.
Ethics consults at a university medical center share many qualitites with those in other settings. What makes them different, if at all, is a difference of degree, not kind. All consult services share the tasks of exploring cases for possible recommendation, contributing to the development of institutional and public policy, and educating colleagues and patients about medical ethics dimensions. Nonetheless, the university setting, devoted as it is to teaching, research, and public service, brings a slightly different focus to these tasks (...) and adds other, peripheral ones. (shrink)
In Márquez's OfLoveandOtherDemons Abrenuncio the physician and the Marquis discuss the outbreak of rabies that is the centerpiece of the book, since the Marquis' daughter has been bitten by a rabid dog. Abrenuncio notes that the poor.
At the end of the most violent century in human history, it is good to take stock of our commitments to human and other life forms, as well as to examine the rights and the duties that might flow from their biological makeup. Professor Thomasma and Professor Loewy have held a long-standing dialogue on whether there are moral differences between animals and humans. This dialogue was occasioned by a presentation Thomasma made some years ago at Loewy's invitation at the University (...) of Illinois, Peoria, Medical Center. During that presentation, Thomasma argued that human beings are sufficiently distinct from other animals genetically and otherwise to justify a moral difference in rights and obligations. In effect, he argued that there are species-specific rights. This essay will pick up the threads of that dialogue. (shrink)
There are several branches of ethics. Clinical ethics, the one closest to medical decisionmaking, can be seen as a branch of medicine itself. In this view, clinical ethics is a unitary hermeneutics. Its rule is a guideline for unifying other theories of ethics in conjunction with the clinical context. Put another way, clinical ethics interprets the clinical situation in light of a balance of other values that, while guiding the decisionmaking process, also contributes to the very weighting of those values. (...) The case itself originates ideas, not only about which value ought to predominate in its resolution, but also provides the origin of clinical rules that can be used in other cases. These are interpretive rules. Some examples of these rules are presented as well. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between teaching and consulting in clinical ethics teaching and the role of the ethics teacher in clinical decision-making. Three roles of the clinical ethics teacher are discussed and illustrated with examples from the authors' experience. Two models of the ethics consultant are contrasted, with an argument presented for the ethics consultant as decision facilitator. A concluding section points to some of the challenges of clinical ethics teaching.
Persons of diminished capacity, especially those who are still legally competent but are de facto incompetent should still be able to participate in moderately risky research projects that benefit the class of persons with similar diseases. It is argued that this view can be supported with a modified communitarianism, a philosophy ofmedicine that holds that health care is a joint responsibility that meets foundational human needs. The mechanism for obtaining a substituted consent I call ``community consent,'' and distinguish this from (...) the usual family or surrogate consent for treatment. Care givers are included in the community that might consent for an individual who has no identifiable family members. (shrink)
From time to time medical ethicists bemoan the loss of a religious perspective in medical ethics. The discipline had its origins in the thinking of explicitly religious thinkers such as Paul Ramsey and Joseph Fletcher. Furthermore, many of those who contributed to the early development of the discipline had training in theology. One thinks of Daniel Callahan, Richard McCormick, Albert Jonsen, Sam. Banks. As the discipline becomes more and more self-reflective, with attention being paid to methodological and conditional concerns, it (...) is only natural that the roots are due for a reexamination. The time has therefore come for some reassessment. The first steps here are taken in the form of a dialogue between the coauthors to clarify authentic contributions and weed out unauthentic ones. (shrink)
Past ages of medical care are condemned in modern philosophical and medical literature as being too paternalistic. The normal account of good medicine in the past was, indeed, paternalistic in an offensive way to modern persons. Imagine a Jean Paul Sartre going to the doctor and being treated without his consent or even his knowledge of what will transpire during treatment! From Hippocratic times until shortly after World War II, medicine operated in a closed, clubby manner. The knowledge learned in (...) medicine was not shared with the patients, who were in general poorly educated and for the most part completely ignorant of the craft of medicine and the physicians. Physicians were cautioned against telling patients too much about their Illness and/or their recovery, perhaps because physicians themselves did not have an enormous armamentarium to confront disease. (shrink)
In advanced technological societies there is growing concern about the prospect of protracted deaths marked by incapacitation, intolerable pain and indignity, and invasion by machines and tubing. Life prolongation for critically ill cancer patients in the United States, for example, literally costs a fortune for very little benefit, typically from $82,845 to $189,339 for an additional year of life. Those who return home after major interventions live on average only 3 more months; the others live out their days in a (...) hospital intensive care unit. (shrink)
During 1992, academic bioethicists celebrated the 30th anniversary of bioethics. Some like to date the origin of modern secular bioethics to the advent of transplant technology that began with kidney transplantation in the early 1960s in the Seattle, Washington, area. This is certainly a good candidate for a starting point. Another might be the work of Joseph Fletcher in the New York area with the Euthanasia Society of America and with clergy training. Still another candidate for the origins of secular (...) bioethics would be the trial of physicians at the University of Virginia for transplanting a kidney at which the same Joseph Fletcher testified. At that trial, the alteration occurred in American law from a definition of death that focused on the cessation of heartbeat to one that focused on the cessation of brain function. (shrink)