Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 211–218 | Cite as

The Beneficence of Hope: Findings from a Qualitative Study with Gout and Diabetes Patients

  • Isabelle WienandEmail author
  • Milenko Rakic
  • David Shaw
  • Bernice Elger
Original Research


This paper explores the importance of hope as a determining factor for patients to participate in first-in-human trials for synthetic biology therapies. This paper focuses on different aspects of hope in the context of human health and well-being and explores the varieties of hope expressed by patients. The research findings are based on interview data collected from stable gout and diabetes patients. Three concepts of hope have emerged from the interviews: hope as certainty (H1); hope as reflective uncertainty (H2); hope as self-therapy (H3). The purpose of the paper is twofold. First, it aims to underline the significance of hope in patients’ medical decision-making, as well as the beneficence of hope for patients’ well-being, and for progress in research. Second, it shows how philosophical investigations—in particular Descartes—explore the phenomenon of hope and provide medical empirical research with profitable insights and tools.


Hope Certainty Optimism Self-therapy Virtue Well-being 



We thank Anna Genske and Rebecca Nast for conceiving and conducting the interviews with thirty-six gout and diabetes patients, as well as to Marianne Weber for transcribing the interviews.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Wienand
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Milenko Rakic
    • 1
  • David Shaw
    • 1
  • Bernice Elger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biomedical EthicsUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institut für Bio- und MedizinethikUniversität BaselBaselSwitzerland

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