Health Care Ethics examines the way ethical dilemmas are played out in everyday clinical practice and argues for an approach to ethical decision-making which focuses more on patient needs than competing professional interests. While advances in medical science and technology have improved the ability to save and prolong lives, they have also given rise to fundamental questions about what constitutes life and personhood, especially in the context of what are termed 'persistent vegetative state' and 'brain death'. Drawing on the example of intensive care where such questions feature strongly in everyday practice, Kath M Melia examines how decisions are taken within the context of multiprofessional teamworking, including · whether to admit a patient and commence treatment · what the aim of treatment should be (i.e. palliation, care or cure) · when to limit, withhold or withdraw treatment · when to donate organs. As an area in which different professional groups work closely together, the author argues that there are lessons to be learnt from intensive care which can be applied to ethical decision making in all areas of health care for the greater good of patients. The book makes a significant contribution to the literature on ethics in health care and to the development of ethical decision making which prioritises the needs of patients. It is essential reading for ethicists, sociologists and health care professionals.
Chapter 1: Health Care Ethics
Health Care Ethics
This book focuses on the empirical reality of clinical practice as a means of opening up ethical debates in health care. Whilst many publications take a moral philosophical approach to discussing the ethical debates which take place in health care practice, this book lays emphasis on the nature of the day to day practice of health care and so the ethical debates are presented in the context of the social organisation of health care practice. The book concentrates on intensive care. This is not because of a belief that it is only intensive care that gives rise to the hottest ethical debates, but rather because the fundamental issues which are typically debated in an intensive care context are also relevant ...