In whose interests? The best interests principle under ethical scrutiny

Bailey, Susan 2001, In whose interests? The best interests principle under ethical scrutiny, Australian critical care, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 161-164, doi: 10.1016/S1036-7314(05)80059-1.

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Title In whose interests? The best interests principle under ethical scrutiny
Author(s) Bailey, Susan
Journal name Australian critical care
Volume number 14
Issue number 4
Start page 161
End page 164
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2001-11
ISSN 1036-7314
Summary 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.

Notes Available online 29 December 2006
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/S1036-7314(05)80059-1
Field of Research 220199 Applied Ethics not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2001, Elsevier B.V.
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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