Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Distinction Between Morality and Ethics

Rosemary Flanigan
September 22, 2009

The distinction between morality and ethics is not at all clear in some of our minds, and the distinction between clinical practice and ethics/morality is likewise foggy. I am much more prone to see almost every conscious activity (except for tying my shoes) to have a moral component—and wherever there is morality, there can be ethical reflection—whether or not there is conflict.

Terry Rosell asked, “But what if the patient/family objected to the cardiologist’s request for a consult?” and the author said, “In many ways, the notion that any one individual involved in a patient’s situation may be given the ability to deny another to seek assistance to address that other’s own ethical concerns flies in the face of now 30-plus years of recognition that clinical ethical matters are not the sole domain of any one group.”

And he goes on to say that whether or not consent must be sought prior to the initiation of a clinical ethical situation is clearly answered NO, it is still possible that consent might be needed subsequently.

It’s very possible that I’m getting “loose as a goose” conscience-wise, but I think of countless “consults” taking place in hospital hallways, nooks, and crannies across the nation—concerning patients, families, and fellow professionals.

What is the “right and good thing to do” is at stake here, so I argue that we’re doing ethics. And preserving privacy to the extent that we can suffices for me. I don’t want practitioners to be mute because of their scrupulous sense of propriety.

How LOOSE is my GOOSE????

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