, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 395-401,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Textual Practices in Crafting Bioethics Cases

Abstract

Bioethics case reports generally treat aspects of moral fathomability, characterised and addressed in different ways. This paper reads the case as a textual model of scenarios and draws attention to its structure, narrative shape, linguistic register, and the effects of tone and temporality on reader expectation and responsiveness. Such textual elements of case composition reflect authorial purpose and influence the interpretation, including moral and ethical interpretation, of bioethics cases.

This paper is based on the Lewis Hedley Lecture, entitled “Narrative: The Connective Tissue of Medical Ethics and Humanities,” delivered to the Institute of Medical Ethics Annual Meeting at the British Medical Association in London in February 2012. The paper builds on previously published discussion of two of the case histories that are considered here (Hurwitz 2011a, b; Hurwitz, Cushing, and Chisnall 2012).