Approaches to clinical ethics dilemmas that rely on basic principles or rules are difficult to apply because of vagueness and conflict among basic values. In response, casuistry rejects the use of basic values, and specification produces a large set of specified rules that are presumably easily applicable. Balancing is a method employed to weigh the relative importance of different and conflicting values in application. We argue against casuistry and specification, claiming that balancing is superior partly because it most clearly exhibits (...) the reasoning behind moral decision-making. Hence, balancing may be most effective in teaching bioethics to medical professionals. (shrink)
Neil Levy offers the most prominent moral principles that are specifically and exclusively designed to apply to neuroethics. His two closely related principles, labeled as versions of the ethical parity principle , are intended to resolve moral concerns about neurological modification and enhancement . Though EPP is appealing and potentially illuminating, we reject the first version and substantially modify the second. Since his first principle, called EPP , is dependent on the contention that the mind literally extends into external props (...) such as paper notebooks and electronic devices, we begin with an examination of the extended mind hypothesis and its use in Levy’s EPP . We argue against reliance on EMH as support for EPP . We turn to his second principle, EPP , which is not dependent on EMH but is tied to the acceptable claim that the mind is embedded in, because dependent on, external props. As a result of our critique of EPP , we develop a modified version of EPP , which we argue is more acceptable than Levy’s principle. Finally, we evaluate the applicability of our version of EPP. (shrink)
Researchers designing a clinical trial may be aware of disputed evidence of serious risks from previous studies. These researchers must decide whether and how to describe these risks in their model informed consent document. They have an ethical obligation to provide fully informed consent, but does this obligation include notice of controversial evidence? With ACCORD as an example, we describe a framework and criteria that make clear the conditions requiring inclusion of important controversial risks. The ACCORD model consent document did (...) not include notice of prior trials with excess death. We develop and explain a new standard labeled risk in equipoise. We argue that our approach provides an optimal level of integrity to protect the informational needs of the reasonable volunteers who agree to participate in clinical trials. We suggest language to be used in a model consent document and the informed consent discussion when such controversial evidence exists. (shrink)
The case of Twin B involves the decision to send a newborn to a less intensive Level 2 special care nursery (SCN) than to the Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that is considered optimal by the physician. The physician’s acceptance of the transfer is against the child’s best interest and is due to parental convenience. In analyzing the case, we reject the best interest standard. Our rejection is partly supported by the views of Douglas Diekema, John Hardwig, and (...) Lannie Ross. Instead of the best interest standard, we offer and defend an approach we base on a microeconomic analysis of externalities, such as those involved with automobile emissions. This extends our previously presented general microeconomic approach to patient decision-making. It provides a clearer way to evaluate situations, like those of Twin B, in which burdens faced by family members may be used to determine the appropriate level of treatment for a decisionally incapable patient. (shrink)
Patient autonomy, as exercised in the informed consent process, is a central concern in bioethics. The typical bioethicist's analysis of autonomy centers on decisional capacity—finding the line between autonomy and its absence. This approach leaves unexplored the structure of reasoning behind patient treatment decisions. To counter that approach, we present a microeconomic theory of patient decision-making regarding the acceptable level of medical treatment from the patient's perspective. We show that a rational patient's desired treatment level typically departs from the level (...) yielding an absence of symptoms, the level we call ideal. This microeconomic theory demonstrates why patients have good reason not to pursue treatment to the point of absence of physical symptoms. We defend our view against possible objections that it is unrealistic and that it fails to adequately consider harm a patient may suffer by curtailing treatment. Our analysis is fruitful in various ways. It shows why decisions often considered unreasonable might be fully reasonable. It offers a theoretical account of how physician misinformation may adversely affect a patient's decision. It shows how billing costs influence patient decision-making. It indicates that health care professionals' beliefs about the ‘unreasonable’ attitudes of patients might often be wrong. It provides a better understanding of patient rationality that should help to ensure fuller information as well as increased respect for patient decision-making. (shrink)
Patient noncompliance with physician prescriptions, especially in nonsymptomatic chronic diseases, is frequently characterized in the literature as harmful and economically costly (Miller 1997).1 Nancy Houston Miller views patient noncompliance as harmful because noncompliance can result in continued or new health problems leading to hospital admissions. Further, she places the annual monetary cost of noncompliance at $100 billion.Patient noncompliance with prescribed treatment is considered the least understood form of health behavior (Coons 2001). Despite the plethora of attention in journal articles, the (...) issue of noncompliance remains unresolved even in terms of understanding the main correlates to .. (shrink)
Recently both whole brain death (WBD) and higher brain death (HBD) have come under attack. These attacks, we argue, are successful, leaving supporters of both views without a firm foundation. This state of affairs has been described as “the death of brain death.” Returning to a cardiopulmonary definition presents problems we also find unacceptable. Instead, we attempt to revive brain death by offering a novel and more coherent standard of death based on the permanent cessation of mental processing. This approach (...) works, we claim, by being functionalist instead of being based in biology, consciousness, or personhood. We begin by explaining why an objective biological determination of death fails. We continue by similarly rejecting current arguments offered in support of HBD, which rely on consciousness and/or personhood. In the final section, we explain and defend our functionalist view of death. Our definition centers on mental processing, both conscious and preconscious or unconscious. This view provides the philosophical basis of a functional definition that most accurately reflects the original spirit of brain death when first proposed in the Harvard criteria of 1968. (shrink)
This contemporary examination of moral theory succinctly covers the full range of theoretical positions, from extreme particularism to moral ideals. Students are challenged to think critically about abstract theories and to use acquired knowledge to support moral experience. In this comprehensive approach to the study of ethics the student is exposed to numerous positions, asked to consider their strengths and weaknesses, and guided to understand how typically opposed theories can jointly aid moral decision making.
_Bioethics: Legal and Clinical Case Studies_ is a case-based introduction to ethical issues in health care. Through seventy-eight compelling scenarios, the authors demonstrate the practical importance of ethics, showing how the concerns at issue bear on the lives of patients, health-care providers, and others. Many central topics are covered, including informed consent, medical futility, reproductive ethics, privacy, cultural competence, and clinical trials. Each chapter includes a selection of important legal cases as well as clinical case studies for critical analysis. The (...) case studies are often presented as moral dilemmas and are conducive to rich discussion. A companion website offers a curated collection of relevant legal precedents along with additional case studies and other resources. (shrink)
This book examines when it is morally appropriate for medical intervention to hasten the dying process. The authors’ overriding goal is to humanize the dying process by expanding patient centered autonomous control.
Utilitarians take an uncritical attitude toward the sort of individual claims they seek to aggregate. In this way they cannot account for an individual's valid claim against a policy which actually maximizes aggregate satisfaction. We thus claim that utilitarianism properly functions only after conflicting claims have been adjudicated; consequently, Utilitarianism properly maximizes the satisfaction of claims judged to be valid. In such a program, Utilitarianism ceases to be considered a part of ethics, But is seen as maintaining a principle of (...) feasibility and efficiency. Finally, We briefly suggest the methods we believe to be most effective in the resolution of ethical conflict. (shrink)
In this study, which is volume 113 of the International Archives of the History of Ideas, Peperzak attempts to link Hegel's declared "external and subjective" Preface to the relevant "scientifically analyzed" aspects of his philosophy. In this Peperzak insists, with Hegel, that politics and philosophy must be viewed in unity. The tension between the critical function of philosophy, the rationality of the then-current order, and the political demands of the censor dominates the commentary. Hegel is upbraided for his excessive endorsement (...) of the then current state, yet this is tempered by the analysis of Hegel's overall position relying on the subject's rationality as the way to understand the, at least partial, rationality of the current order. (shrink)
This book offers a comprehensive approach to moral experience. It respects the many dimensions of our moral life which elude the traditional philosophical theories that deal exclusively with principles, consequences, virtues, or some other single dimension. Working from a critique of such traditions, the book shows how to integrate their values in a dynamic coherence. Thus, it is not just another ethical theory, but a new level of philosophizing in ethics which rewards the reader with an enlarged and enriched vision (...) of our complexity as moral beings. (shrink)