Life Versus Death: Exposing a Misapplication of Ethical Reasoning
Iserson, Kenneth V.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1994 Fall; 5(3): 261-264.
...While societies should respect their dead, the living should never be sacrificed to their memory. Difficult life-saving skills in medicine, as in other fields, must not only be taught, but also be constantly practiced and refined. Putting any barriers in the way of physicians' practicing and upgrading their skills in performing endotracheal intubation threatens the lives of their future patients. The guise of patient (surrogate) autonomy is stretched thin when ethicists use it to cover postmortem practice and teaching, especially that which is rapid, nondisfiguring, and potentially life saving for others....The common alternatives, practicing and teaching on animals (a poor model) or unsuspecting patients under general anesthesia, can only be considered abhorrent, given the availability of bodies that can no longer be harmed. While pedants, far removed from the tumult of emergency care, worry over unusual permutations of solid ethical issues, I will encourage my colleagues to continue practicing and teaching,
Alternatives; Anesthesia; Attitudes; Attitudes to Death; Autonomy; Beneficence; Cadavers; Common Good; Communitarianism; Competence; Cultural Pluralism; Consent; Death; Education; Emergency Care; Ethicists; Ethics; Family Members; Health; Health Personnel; Informed Consent; Justice; Life; Medical Ethics; Medicine; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Patients; Physicians; Presumed Consent; Professional Competence; Resuscitation; Rights; Risks and Benefits;
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