Sanctity of Life and Human Dignity at the Bedside

  • Stephen Wear
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 52)


However much the history of the relationship between physician and patient has been that of the “silent world” that Jay Katz describes [2], that world is increasingly being impacted by a cacophony of voices in the present day. Whether basic communication and mutual understanding is actually increasing remains debatable. But endless discussions and reflections, in the clinical and bioethics literature, in the popular media, in courses and seminars for students and practitioners of health care, in rooms where team members or ethics committees meet, and at the bedside, are occurring, particularly concerning the appropriate response to chronic, terminal and devastating disease. And such discussions are not just between physicians as in the past; all members of the health care team, ethics consultants and committees, as well as patients and their families, are increasingly attempting to have their voices heard.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Human Dignity Ethic Consultation Ethic Consultant Intellectual Statement 
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  1. 1.
    Engelhardt, H.: 1996, ‘Sanctity of life and Menschenwürde: can these concepts help direct the use of resources in critical care?’, this volume, pp. 201–219.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Katz, J.: 1984, The Silent World of the Doctor and Patient, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wear, S., LaGaipa, S. and Logue, G.: 1994, ‘Toleration of moral diversity and the conscientious refusal by clinicians to withdraw life-sustaining treatment’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19, 147–159.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wear, S. and Logue, G.: 1994, ‘Policy options when an attending physician refuses to honor a legally enforceable demand to withdraw life-sustaining treatment’, VA National Center for Clinical Ethics News 2, 1–2, 9, 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Wear
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New YorkUSA

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