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In whose interests? The best interests principle under ethical scrutiny

Version 2 2024-06-16, 13:33
Version 1 2014-10-27, 16:25
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-16, 13:33 authored by S Bailey
This paper critically examines the best interests principle and its role in making decisions about intensive care treatment. In current practice the best interests principle is sometimes relied upon to guide decision making in circumstances when the patient is incompetent, although it is intrinsically linked to inconsistent assumptions about what is meant by quality of life. This situation means that there is potential that moral errors will be made that may result in an unwanted extension of life for some individuals or the premature death of others.

It is difficult to justify such decision making on ethical grounds. A greater understanding of the best interests principle, and consequently the concept of quality of life, is needed in order to ensure that decision making about intensive care is ethically defensible. It is argued that an ideal theory of quality of life provides an appropriate framework for best interests decisions, and that the decision making process ought to, whenever possible, involve the patient's close family.


History

Journal

Australian critical care

Volume

14

Pagination

161-164

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

1036-7314

eISSN

1878-1721

Language

eng

Notes

Available online 29 December 2006

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2001, Elsevier B.V.

Issue

4

Publisher

Elsevier BV

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