Bioethics and Clinical Ethics, From theory to practice, is intended for students following courses in bioethics but more specifically for those students and professionals in health care from doctors to nurses and other paramedical professionals.
Whilst ethics is generally a field of philosophy, applied ethics enters into other realms from medicine to business. However, deliberating about the ethics of various fields, whilst providing a sound grounding for discussion, needs to be practiced in the relevant fields. This book focusses on health care. Whilst bioethics therefore forms a theoretical foundation for debate, clinical ethics moves into how to approach such cases in practice. In particular it moves away from simple answers such as having a moral objection or basing answers merely on the law. Clinical Ethics is patient-centred rather than health care profession-centred. Bioethics is to clinical ethics as pharmacology is to medicine. The former studies the ground work and theory; the latter has to apply it following a proper history, examination and investigation.
The book will help students and professionals alike whilst being also of interest to the lay person who wishes to know more about the clinical application of the field of bioethics. A philosopher who practices clinical ethics, even if not a doctor, needs to work with patients. As William Osler once said, ‘to practice medicine without books is like sailing an unchartered sea, but to practice medicine without patients is not going to sea at all’.