100 Cases in Clinical Ethics and Law PDF

100 Cases in Clinical Ethics and Law PDF



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Preface

There are lots of reasons for reading this book. Perhaps you are facing an exam and need to revise. Maybe you did not really understand all the teaching you had and now want to make sense of things. But it might be that now on the ward or in practice you have come face to face with some things you do not know how to deal with, or you do not think are quite right.
You want to be a doctor, and presumably you want to be a good one. But demanding as it is to be on the mark in diagnosis and to know what treatment is needed, it will not always tell you actually what decisions should be made. Usually something more is needed. Deciding between treatments and their side-effects will be difficult without finding out about how the patient lives and the choices they would make. There may be a conflict, say between what doctors want to do and what the patient is prepared to accept. Perhaps what could be done is very expensive, or it does not seem worthwhile or fair to put someone through. The patient may be confused, a young child or in a new and foreign culture. Perhaps someone is putting pressure on you to do something you do not think is right, or even legal.
As soon as these sorts of questions appear, you are in the area where ethical (or moral – the words for our purpose mean much the same) and legal issues are important, which can only properly be resolved by the thinking in this book. A good doctor is prepared to ask ‘Is this right?’, ‘Is this the best thing to do in these circumstances?’ or ‘What does the law say about this?’. Avoiding facing them will simply mean wasted effort, endless tension and anxiety, or worse. Sooner or later someone will make a complaint, or things will go wrong in a bigger way. Even if temperamentally you do not like to think about those possibilities, common sense will tell you that facing them is not going to be an easy experience, and if possible to be avoided. We hope you will see that finding good ways of thinking about the ideas raised here will be a much more happy and satisfying way to work.


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