Integrity in the Care of Elderly People, as Narrated by Female Physicians
Nursing Ethics 2003 July; 10(4): 388-403
Three female physicians were interviewed as part of a comprehensive investigation into the narratives of female and male physicians and nurses, concerning their experience of being in ethically difficult care situations in the care of elderly people. The interviewees expressed great concern for the low status of care for elderly people, and the need fight for the specialty and for the care and rights of their patients. All the interviewees' narratives concerned problems relating to perspectives of both action ethics and relational ethics. The main focus was on problems concerning the latter perspective, expressed profound concern and respect for the individual patient. Secondary emphasis was placed on relationships with relatives and other professionals. The most common themes in action ethics perspective were too little treatment and the lack of health services for older patients, together with overtreatment and death with dignity. These results were discussed in the light of Logstrup's ethics, which emphasize that human life means expressing oneself, in the expectation of being met by others. Both Ricoeur's concept of an ethics of memory and Aristotle's virtue ethics are presented in the discussion of too little and too much treatment.
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