To better understand the available publications addressing ethical issues in rural health care we sought to identify the ethics literature that specifically focuses on rural America. We wanted to determine the extent to which the rural ethics literature was distributed between general commentaries, descriptive summaries of research, and original research publications. We identified 55 publications that specifically and substantively addressed rural health care ethics, published between 1966 and 2004. Only 7 (13%) of these publications were original research articles while (12) (...) 22% were descriptive summaries of research and 36 (65%) were general commentaries. The majority of publications examined (55%) were clinically focused while 27% addressed organizational ethics and 18% addressed ethical ramifications of rural health care policy at a national or community level. Our findings indicate that there are a limited number of publications focusing on rural health care ethics, suggesting a need for scholars and researchers to more rigorously address rural ethics issues. (shrink)
The rural health context in the United States presents unique ethical challenges to its approximately 60 million residents, who represent about one quarter of the overall population and are distributed over three-quarters of the country’s land mass. The rural context is not only identified by the small population density and distance to an urban setting but also by a combination of social, religious, geographical, and cultural factors. Living in a rural setting fosters a sense of shared values and beliefs, a (...) strong work ethic, self-reliance, and a tendency for close-knit extended social structures where overlapping relationships are commonplace. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the normative content of Kant's formula of humanity (FH). More specifically, does FH, as some seem to think, imply the specific and rigid prescriptions in 'standard' deontological theories? To this latter question, I argue, the answer is 'no'. I propose reading FH largely through the formula of autonomy and the formula of the kingdom of ends, where I understand FA to describe the nature of the capacity of humanity-a capacity for self-governance. The latter, I suggest, (...) is akin to the capacity for planning and intentional action described in Michael Bratman's work. A significant part of what FH requires, I then propose, is that we exercise these capacities for planning in such a way that we accommodate and coordinate with the (permissible) plans and intentions of others. Kant himself, as do many commentators, emphasizes the idea that our human capacities give us a distinctive kind of value. On my interpretation, by contrast, what is fundamentally important is not the value of the capacities but rather what they make possible: distinctive ways of mistreating (using) persons, but also a distinctive kind of morally desirable relationship. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to assess the presence of ethics committees in rural critical access hospitals across the United States. Several studies have investigated the presence of ethics committees in rural health care facilities. The limitation of these studies is in the definition of ‘rural hospital’ and a regional or state focus. These limitations have created large variations in the study findings. In this nation-wide study we used the criteria of a critical access hospital (CAH), as defined by (...) the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program, 2007), to bring consistency and clarity to the assessment of the presence of ethics committees in rural hospitals. The Flex Monitoring Team conducted a national telephone survey of 381 CAH administrators throughout the United States. The survey covered a wide variety of questions concerning hospitals’ community benefit, impact activities, and whether the hospital had a formally established an ethics committee. About 230 (60%) of the respondents indicated they had a formally established ethics committee or ethics consultation program at their CAH. The prevalence of ethics committees declined as the CAH location became increasingly rural along a rural–urban continuum. Unlike CAHs, all rural Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers have ethics committees. The results of this study provide an understanding of the limited presence of ethics committee in rural America and the need to consider new approaches for providing ethics assistance. A virtual ethics committee network may be the most efficient and effective way of providing rural hospitals access to a knowledgeable ethics committee or consultant. (shrink)
An epistemic theory of democracy, I assume, is meant to provide on answer to the question of why democracy is desirable. It does so by trying to show how the democratic process can have epistemic value. I begin by describing a couple of examples of epistemic theories in the literature and bringing out what they presuppose. I then examine a particular type of theory, worked out most thoroughly by Joshua Cohen, which seems to imply that democracy has epistemic value. The (...) key idea in this theory is that its conception of political right is itself a democratic conception – roughly, what is right is constituted by a consensus among ideal democratic agents. If democratic procedures are modeled on this conception of right, the theory proposes, the fact that we follow these procedures in decision-making will give us reason to believe that the outcomes are themselves right. I do not reject the democratic conception of the right, but I argue that the theory breaks down when we try to extend its conclusions to real-world democratic procedures. While it invites interesting speculation about possible reforms, it gives us little reason to accept the outcomes of actual democratic politics. (shrink)
Universal Human Rights brings new clarity to the important and highly contested concept of universal human rights. This collection of essays explores the foundations of universal human rights in four sections devoted to their nature, application, enforcement, and limits, concluding that shared rights help to constitute a universal human community, which supports local customs and separate state sovereignty. The eleven contributors to this volume demonstrate from their very different perspectives how human rights can help to bring moral order to an (...) otherwise divided world. (shrink)
This paper addresses two questions. First, how different is the ideal underlying deliberative democracy from the ideal expressed in contemporary liberal theory, especially contractualist theory and "political liberalism"? Second, what specific institutional prescriptions, if any, follow from deliberative democracy? It is argued that the deliberative ideal has become quite abstract and, in fact, does not differ significantly from many forms of contemporary liberalism. Moreover, it is something of an open question just what institutions best realize this ideal. Specifically, the ideal (...) does not necessarily require conventional, majoritarian institutions. (shrink)
The following description is based upon an actual case in which a patient initiated legal action after suffering a complication subsequent to an invasive diagnostic procedure performed by a senior fellow. Named as codefendants were the senior fellow, attending physician, and the hospital. Because any hospital with house staff is potentially vulnerable to similar litigation, Ethics Committees at Work is addressing the questions raised by this dilemma.
I will give a broad overview of what has become the standard paradigm in cosmology. I will describe the relational notion of time that is often used in cosmological calculations and discuss how the local nature of Einstein's equations allows us to translate this notion into statements about `initial' data. Classically this relates our local definition of time to a quasi-local region of a particular spatial slice, however incorporating quantum theory comes at the expense of losing this locality entirely. This (...) occurs due to the presence of two, apparently distinct, issues: Seemingly classical issues to do with the infinite spatial volume of the universe and Quantum field theory issues, which revolve around trying to apply renormalization in cosmology. Following the ‘cosmological principle’ - an extension of the ‘Copernicus principle’ - that physics at every point in our universe should look the same, we are lead to the modern view of cosmology. This procedure is reasonably well understood for an exactly homogeneous universe, however the inclusions of small perturbations over this homogeneity leads to many interpretational/ conceptual difficulties. For example, in an infinite universe perturbations can be arbitrarily close to homogeneous. To any observer, such a perturbation would appear to be a simple rescaling of the homogenous background and hence, physically, would not be considered an inhomogeneous perturbation at all. However, any attempt to choose the physically relevant scale at which perturbations should be considered homogeneous will break the cosmological principle i.e. it will make the resulting physics observer dependent. It amounts to `putting the perturbations in a box' and a delicate practical issue is that the universe is not static, hence the scale of the box will be time dependent. Thus what appears ‘physically homogeneous’ to an observer at one time will not appear so at another. This issue is brought to the forefront by considering the canonical version of the theory. The phase space formulation of General Relativity, just as for any other theory, contains the shadow of the underlying quantum theory. This means that, although the formulation is still classical, many of the subtleties that are present in the quantum theory are already apparent. In the cosmological context the infinite spatial volume renders almost all expressions formal or ill-defined. In order to proceed, we must restrict our attention to a cosmology that has some finite spatial extent, on which our relational notion of time is everywhere definable. In particular, this would constrain the permissible data outside our `observable universe'. This difficulty is an IR or large scale issues in cosmology, however in addition there are UV or short scale problems that need to be tackled. There are the usual problems of renormalization, which are further complicated by the fact that the universe is not static. In the cosmological setting this leads to new IR problems which again prevent one from taking the spatial extent of the universe to infinity. The physical relevance of this problem, the consequence for defining a time variable, and the distinction of homogeneous and inhomogeneous IR issues will be discussed. (shrink)
In the United States, physicians are Increasingly functioning In the consultative role. This change in role Is undoubtedly a result of a surge in the numbers of specialists, the relative decreasing number of primary care physicians, and the emergence of tertiary care centers as primary treatment providers. This change In the style of practicing medicine has led to role confusion In attending physician-patient-consultant relationships.
The ethical standard for informed consent is fostered within a shared decision-making process. SDM has become a recognized and needed approach in health care decision-making. Based on an ethical foundation, the approach fosters the active engagement of patients, where the clinician presents evidence-based treatment information and options and openly elicits the patient’s values and preferences. The SDM process is affected by the context in which the information exchange occurs. Rural settings are one context that impacts the delivery of health care (...) and SDM. Rural health care is significantly influenced by economic, geographical and social characteristics. Several specific distinctive features influence rural health care decision-making—poverty, access to health care, isolation, over-lapping relationships, and a shared culture. The rural context creates challenges as well as fosters opportunities for the application of SDM as a natural dynamic within the rural provider–patient relationship. To fulfill the ethical requirements of informed consent through SDM, it is necessary to understand its inherent challenges and opportunities. Therefore, rural clinicians and ethicists need to be cognizant of the impact of the rural setting on SDM and use the insights as an opportunity to achieve SDM. (shrink)
Whether one should accept a principle like DDE cannot be settled independent of one's more general moral theory. In this, I take it, I agree with Professor Boyle, though I do not think he has shown that DDE has a role only in his particular form of absolutism. Still, since his theory does require DDE, an important question is what the alternatives are – whether we must choose between this absolutism and either utilitarianism or intuitionism. A form of contractualism, the (...) requirements of which derive to a large extent from institutionally or conventionally established rights, is sketched here as an attractive alternative. It does not lead, so far as I can see, to DDE. Keywords: authority, contractualism, rights CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)