Thursday, December 11, 2008

Practicing on the newly dead

Rosemary Flanigan
December 11, 2008

When we “argue” (discuss?) at an ethics consult, we find ourselves sometimes arguing about erroneous conscience decisions, I think.

FOR EXAMPLE, let’s say as an intern, a physician may have practiced intubation on a newly dead patient without family consent. Years later, in retrospect, the physician may have arrived at the judgment that this was wrong to do and that he/she will teach medical students not to do it.

AH HA!!! So medicine needs to be practiced, and this particular procedure probably needs a lot of practice. What would lead the physician to see that such “practicing” was not a good thing?

What about the physician who doesn’t need to practice anymore—but still sees that practicing on the newly dead is better than not practicing at all so he/she does not teach medical students to avoid doing so?

Would you argue with this physician?

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