Principles Help to Analyse but Often Give No Solution -- Secondary Prevention After a Cardiac Event
Health Care Analysis: An International Journal of Health Philosophy and Policy 2006 June; 14(2): 111-117
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether or not ethical conflicts can be identified, analysed and solved using ethical principles. The relation between the physician and the patient with ischemic heart disease (IHD) as life style changes are recommended in a secondary prevention program is used as an example. The principal persons affected (the patient and his or her spouse) and the ethical principles (respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice) are combined in a two dimensional model. The most important person affected by the recommendations is the patient. His or her autonomy is challenged by the suggested life style changes, the purpose of which is to promote the future wellbeing and health of the patient. The spouse is indirectly involved in and affected by the process. He or she often feels neglected by caregivers. Ethical conflicts can both be identified and analysed using ethical principles, but often no solution is implied. Most (if not all) physicians would strongly encourage life style changes, but surprisingly there is no uncontroversial justification for this conclusion using principles.
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