A Transcultural, Preventive Ethics Approach to Critical-Care Medicine: Restoring the Critical Care Physician's Power and Authority
McCullough, Laurence B.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1998 Dec; 23(6): 628-642.
This article comments on the treatment of critical-care ethics in four preceding articles about critical-care medicine and its ethical challenges in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines. These articles show how cultural values can be in both synchrony and conflict in generating these ethical challenges and in the constraints that they place on the response of critical-care ethics to them. To prevent ethical conflict in critical care the author proposes a two-step approach to the ethical justification of critical-care management: (1) the decision to resuscitate and initiate critical-care management, which is based on the obligation to prevent imminent mortality without permanent loss of consciousness; and (2) the decision to continue critical-care management, which is based on the obligation both to prevent imminent death without permanent loss of consciousness and to avoid unnecessary, significant iatrogenic costs to the patient and psychosocial costs to the family when the reduction of mortality risk is marginal. Physicians and hospitals should restore the critical-care physician's authority and power -- against prevailing cultural values, if necessary -- to control when critical-care intervention is offered, when it is recommended to continue, and when it is recommended to be discontinued and the patient allowed to die.
Allowing to Die; Autonomy; Beneficence; Consciousness; Costs and Benefits; Critically Ill; Cultural Pluralism; Death; Decision Making; Disease; Ethics; Family Members; Futility; Health; Health Care; Hospitals; Iatrogenic Disease; Institutional Policies; International Aspects; Life; Medical Specialties; Medicine; Mortality; Non-Western World; Palliative Care; Physicians; Primary Health Care; Professional Autonomy; Prolongation of Life; Public Policy; Power; Resource Allocation; Resuscitation; Risk; Values; Western World; Withholding Treatment;
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