Skip to main content
Log in

Echo Calling Narcissus: What Exceeds the Gaze of Clinical Ethics Consultation?

  • Published:
HEC Forum Aims and scope Submit manuscript

An Erratum to this article was published on 01 June 2010


Guiding our response in this essay is our view that current efforts to demarcate the role of the clinical ethicist risk reducing its complex network of authorizations to sites of power and payment. In turn, the role becomes susceptible to various ideologies—individualisms, proceduralisms, secularisms—that further divide the body from the web of significances that matter to that body, where only she, the patient, is located. The security of policy, standards, and employment will pull against and eventually sever the authorization secured by authentic moral inquiry. Instead of asking “What do I need to know?”, the question animating the drive to standardize will be “What is the policy or standard?” The claims of the authors in this issue of HEC Forum confirm these suspicions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Andre, J. (2002). Bioethics as practice. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Babbie, E. (2004). The practice of social research (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomason.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bishop, J. P. (2009). Foucauldian diagnostics: Space, time, and the metaphysics of medicine. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 34(4), 328–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bishop, J. P., Fanning, J. B., & Bliton, M .J. (2009). Of goals and goods and floundering about: A dissensus report on Clinical Ethics Consultation. HEC Forum, 21(3), 275–291.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bliton, M. J., & Finder, S. G. (2010). A brief reflection on the experience of responsibility in ethics consultation. Forthcoming in Formosan Journal of Medical Humanities.

  • Canadian Bioethics Society. (1999). Annual General Meeting Minutes. Unpublished document.

  • Chidwick, P., Bell, J., Connolly, E., Coughlin, M., Frolic, A., Hardingham, L., Webster G., & Zlotnik Shaul, R. (2010). Exploring a model role description for ethicists. HEC Forum, 22(1). doi: 10.1007/S10730-010-9126-5.

  • Engelhardt, H., & Tristram, Jr. (2009). Credentialing strategically ambiguous and heterogeneous social skills: The emperor without clothes. HEC Forum, 21(3), 293–306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, P. (2004). The importance of variable names. In E. Babbie (Ed.), The practice of social research (10th ed., pp. 130–131). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomason.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, M. (1991). Birth of the clinic: an archaeology of medical perception (A. M. Sheridan Smith, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books. Originally published under the title of Naissance de la clinique by Presses Universitaires de France in 1963.

  • Frolic, A., & Chadwick, P. (2010a). A qualitative study of “conflicts of interests and/or conflicting interests” among Canadian bioethicists, Part 1: Five cases, experiences and lessons learned. HEC Forum, 22(1). doi: 10.1007/S10730-010-9124-7.

  • Frolic, A., & Chadwick, P. (2010b). A qualitative study of “conflicts of interests and/or conflicting interests” among Canadian bioethicists, Part 2: Defining and managing conflicts. HEC Forum, 22(1). doi: 10.1007/S10730-010-9125-6.

  • Galbraith, K. L., & Perry, J. E. (2009). Saturday morning in the clinic. Hastings Center Report, 39(5), 24–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mokwunye, N. O., Brown, V. A., Lynch, J. J., & DeRenzo, E. G. (2010). Hiring a hospital staff clinical ethicist: Creating a formalized behavioral interview model. HEC Forum, 22(1). doi: 10.1007/S10730-010-9121-x.

  • Pellegrino, E. D., & Thomasma, D. C. (1981). Philosophical basis for medical practice: Toward a philosophy and ethic of the healing professions. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pickstock, C. (1998). After writing: The liturgical consummation of philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Swiderski, D. M., Ettinger, K. M., Webber, M., & Dubler, N. N. (2010). The clinical ethics credentialing project: Preliminary notes from a pilot project to establish quality measures for ethics consultation. HEC Forum, 22(1). doi: 10.1007/S10730-010-9122-9.

  • Young, K. (1997). Presence in the flesh: The body in medicine. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zaner, R. M. (1988). Ethics and the clinical encounter. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeffrey P. Bishop.

Additional information

An erratum to this article can be found at

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bishop, J.P., Fanning, J.B. & Bliton, M.J. Echo Calling Narcissus: What Exceeds the Gaze of Clinical Ethics Consultation?. HEC Forum 22, 73–84 (2010).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: