Physician-Patient Decision-Making: A Study in Medical Ethics

Greenwood Press (1985)
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Abstract

Walton offers a comprehensive, flexible model for physician-patient decision making, the first such tool designed to be applied at the level of each particular case. Based on Aristotelian practical reasoning, it develops a method of reasonable dialogue, a question- and-answer process of interaction leading to informed consent on the part of the patient, and to a decision--mutually arrived at--reflecting both high medical standards and the patient's felt needs. After setting forth his model, he applies it to three vital ethical issues: acts of omission, the cessation of treatment, and possible side effects of treatments. In the final chapter, Walton shows how his method functions in light of the real-life complexities of the clinical encounter and how it bears on ethical questions concerning health-care policy, attitudes toward treatment and toward the medical profession, reasonableness of expectations, and the setting of realistic goals of treatment.

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