The physician-patient relationship has changed over the last several decades, requiring a systematic reevaluation of the competing demands of patients, physicians, and families. In the era of genetic testing, using a model of patient care known as the family covenant may prove effective in accounting for these demands. The family covenant articulates the roles of the physician, patient, and the family prior to genetic testing, as the participants consensually define them. The initial agreement defines the boundaries of autonomy and benefit (...) for all participating family members. The physician may then serve as a facilitator in the relationship, working with all parties in resolving potential conflicts regarding genetic information. The family covenant promotes a fuller discussion of the competing ethical claims that may come to bear after genetic test results are received. (shrink)
Medical school curricula, although traditionally and historically dominated by science, have generally accepted, appreciated, and welcomed the inclusion of literature over the past several decades. Recent concerns about medical professional formation have led to discussions about the specific role and contribution of literature and stories. In this article, we demonstrate how professionalism and the study of literature can be brought into relationship through critical and interrogative interactions based in the literary skill of close reading. Literature in medicine can question the (...) meaning of “professionalism” itself, thereby resisting standardization in favor of diversity method and of outcome. Literature can also actively engage learners with questions about the human condition, providing a larger context within which to consider professional identity formation. Our fundamental contention is that, within a medical education framework, literature is highly suited to assist learners in questioning conventional thinking and assumptions about various dimensions of professionalism. (shrink)
There is a wind of change about to affect the training of all house officers in the United States. The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education has promulgated a set of general competencies for all U.S.-trained residents, with a major thrust focused on bioethics and professionalism that will likely catch residency directors unaware. The ACGME's General Competencies document globally addresses many relationship-based ethical roles and responsibilities of house officers in healthcare. Of note, this document contains a specific section on professionalism. (...) However, the entire document is woven with a sustained thread of medical ethics throughout its other sections. The intent is to imbue each physician with those skills, rules, and aspects of character that will be a foundation for humane, ethical, professional conduct. Professionalism does indeed go beyond ethical principles, accounting for competency and commitment to excellence and, most of all, implying a virtue ethics account of medical practice. The need to address the central place of virtue ethics in house-staff education is apparent, and we now have the right tool for the job—the ACGME General Competencies. (shrink)
The emergence of the ethics consultation as a means to resolve moral crises in clinical medicine has revealed the need for a worksheet that would facilitate intake and analysis. The author developed the Bioethics Consultation Form as an attempt to remedy this need. The form is arranged in an outline format and is a useful asset to ethics committee discussions and record keeping. The first section covers basic intake data concerning the patient's medical and personal information, advance directives, and values, (...) as well as the values of the physician and family. After the intake section is completed with the above data, the ethics consultant then turns to the analysis section. This second section allows for (1) the discussion of conflicting values, (2) the identification of priorities, and (3) the elucidation of ethical norms relevant to the case.The Bioethics Consultation Form was adopted by the Patient Care Advisory committee of the Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, Maryland in 1986. The methodology in the use of the form will be discussed. Further, the potential spectrum of consultative cases that can be analyzed using the form will be highlighted. (shrink)
Physicians and families need to interact more meaningfully to clarify the values and preferences at stake in advance care planning. The current use of advance directives fails to respect patient autonomy. This paper proposes using the family covenant as a preventive ethics process designed to improve end-of-life planning by incorporating other family members—as agreed to by the patient and those family members—into the medical care dialogue. The family covenant formulates advance directives in conversation with family members and with the assistance (...) of a physician, thereby making advance directives more acceptable to the family, and more intelligible to other physicians. It adds the moral force of a promise to the obligation of respecting a patient’s preferences about end-of-life care. These negotiations between patient, family, and physician, from early planning phases through implementation, should greatly reduce the incidence of family disagreements on what the patient would have wanted. The family covenant ensures advance directive discussions within the family, promotes and respects the autonomy of other family members, and might even spur others in the family to complete advance directives through additional covenants. The family covenant holds the potential to transform moral quagmires into meaningful moral conversation. J Am Geriatr Soc 51:1155–1158, 2003. (shrink)
Abstract:Respect for persons protects patients regarding their own healthcare decisions. Patient informed choice for altruism (PICA) is a proposed means for a fully autonomous patient with decisionmaking capacity to limit his or her own treatment for altruistic reasons. An altruistic decision could bond the patient with others at the end of life. We contend that PICA can also be an advance directive option. The proxy, family, and physicians must be reminded that a patient’s altruistic treatment refusal should be respected.
Pandemic can prompt a variety of human motives, ranging from a desire for security to altruism. In our current perilous times, some patients have voiced a desire to help others. Such action can result in self-peril, and, as a result, their motives may be questioned. One health system now has a pandemic-based advance directive that queries patients about their value preferences regarding care that is directed toward others. Some object to this action because it may evoke patients to altruism. We (...) examine both remote and recent examples of altruism, in which coercion could have played a major role. We next consider concerns based on aspects of the process of “inquiry versus evocation,” slippery-slope claims, and inherent manipulation, and conclude that patients should be allowed to be asked about their preferences and values regarding altruism. (shrink)
A collection of personal narratives and essays, Living Professionalism is designed to help medical students and residents understand and internalize various aspects of professionalism. These essays are meant for personal reflection and above all, for thoughtful discussion with mentors, with peers, with others throughout the health care provider community who care about acting professionally.
The development of the Values History instrument for use in advance directive decision making has raised the question of the importance of values in eliciting advance directives. This pilot study examines the relationship between the domains of values and advance directives drawn from the Values History in three generation intrafamily triads. Significant correlations between values and advance directives were found primarily within the youngest generation. Results reveal a relatively high familiarity by the participants of the various established forms of advance (...) directives. Also, a significant percentage of parents and grand- parents was found to have signed some form of advance directive. (shrink)