Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good Facts = Good Ethics. Right?

Rosemary Flanigan
February 10, 2010

When all our ethical analysis models stress, “Be sure of the facts,” we all know how twisted the meaning of “fact” can get.

Think of the distortions made by presuppositions, beliefs, years of bias. What if a beloved daughter brings home a grubby, tattooed, slouchy fellow and announces they’re engaged? Who IS this new son-in-law-to-be?

At the end of a patient’s life, the very meaning of “life” can be different for patient and family than it is for clinicians—one sees living; the other may see dying. And it helps to try to suspend all interpretations of the two words in order to try to agree on what “living” and what “dying” really mean in themselves.



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