Introduction to Clinical Ethics -1-

Clinical Ethics: its definition



[Definition of "clinical ethics"] The field of activities that investigate what medical staff as professionals should do or how they should behave concerning a certain individual case, especially in the process of decision making.

Bioethics might also concern such issues, but not exclusively, since its main concern is general theories and not the solution of individual cases.

[criticism and reply] The field of clinical ethics has been criticised for its lack of theories or reasoning, according to which individual cases are considered[note 1]. Against this criticism, clinical ethicists have cited the complexity of individual cases, saying that the problems they pose are too complex for us to solve by simply applying a set of principles to them.

[our viewpoint] Even though the cases are complex and solutions cannot be attained in either a casuistic way, or by simply applying the principles to them, we can still find a way to analyse or consider each case on the basis of a few relevant principles. Establishing a standard way of analysing and considering individual cases has been one of the main themes of scholars in clinical ethics, and this is exactly what we have been trying by our project.

update: 15/August/2003

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