Transformative Justice in Ethics Consultation

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 65 (4):612-621 (2022)
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ABSTRACT:Clinical ethics consultants bear witness to the direct harms of intersecting axes of oppression—such as racism and classism—as they impinge on elucidating and resolving ethical dilemmas in health care. Health Care Ethics Consultation (HCEC) professional guidance supports recognizing and analyzing power dynamics and social-structural obstacles to good care. However, the most relied upon bioethical principles in clinical ethics have been criticized for insufficiency in this regard. While individual ethics consultants have found ways to expand their approaches, they do so in an ad hoc way without frameworks to guide consistency. Motivated by the practical expertise of clinical ethicists, this essay offers a new framework to support openness to analyzing power imbalances and respecting marginalized voices and values. This framework is grounded in transformative justice, where the aim is to take responsibility for oppression by centering and responding to moral perspectives and value systems that are all too often silenced.



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