Toward a methodology for moral decision making in medicine.

TitleToward a methodology for moral decision making in medicine.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsKushner T, Belliotti RA, Buckner D
JournalTheoretical medicine
Date Published1991
KeywordsBioethical Issues; Codes of Ethics; Decision Making; Ethical Analysis; Ethical Theory; Ethics, Clinical; Ethics, Medical; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Male; Morals; Personhood; Value of Life; Withholding Treatment
AbstractThe failure of medical codes to provide adequate guidance for physicians' moral dilemmas points to the fact that some rules of analysis, informed by moral theory, are needed to assist in resolving perplexing ethical problems occurring with increasing frequency as medical technology advances. Initially, deontological and teleological theories appear more helpful, but criticisms can be lodged against both, and neither proves to be sufficient in itself. This paper suggests that to elude the limitations of previous approaches, a method of moral decision making must be developed incorporating both coherence methodology and some independently supported theoretical foundations. Wide Reflective Equilibrium is offered, and its process described along with a theory of the person which is used to animate the process. Steps are outlined to be used in the process, leading to the application of the method to an actual case.
Alternate JournalTheor Med