Education And Debate

Ethical Debate: Practical ethics

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 08 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:118
  1. Grant Gillett, professor of medical ethicsa
  1. aDepartment of Neurosurgery, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

    The ethical principles underlying clinical practice tend to run on two axes: firstly, the need to protect life and wellbeing, and, secondly, respect for the individual patient. Occasionally the principles of beneficence (or doing good) and respect for autonomy seem to conflict, and such situations require doctors to blend clinical wisdom and the art of negotiation. The case of head injury presented here is an example.

    Clearly, any reasonable patient …

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