Oregon State University

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Event Details

Conscience And Conscientious Objections In Health Care

Keynote: The 15th International Conference On Ethics Across the Curriculum

Saturday, October 5, 2013 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

While conscientious objection has its historical roots in objections to military service, a growing number of health professionals have refused to provide a broad range of medical services that violate their ethical beliefs. The presentation will identify the distinguishing characteristics of conscientious objection, and two extreme approaches to managing conscience-based objections to providing medical services will be critically analyzed. One extreme is “conscience absolutism,” the view that clinicians should be exempted from performing any action, including disclosing options and referring, that is contrary to their conscience. The second extreme is the “incompatibility thesis,” the view that practitioners have an obligation to provide any medical service that is legal, professionally accepted, and within the scope of their professional competence. It will be argued that neither of these extreme approaches is defensible. An alternative to both extreme approaches will be presented and applied to cases. It features the following guidelines: 1) Whenever feasible, health professionals should provide advance notification; 2) accommodation should not impede a patient’s/surrogate’s timely access to information, counseling, and referral; 3) accommodation should not impede a patient’s timely access to health care services; and 4) accommodation should not impose excessive burdens on other health professionals, administrators, or institutions.

Mark Wicclair is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at West Virginia University and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Law.

His primary research and teaching interests are in bioethics and applied ethics, and he has published extensively in these areas. His publications include two books: Conscientious Objection in Health Care: An Ethical Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 2011), designated a 2012 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title in Philosophy,” and Ethics and the Elderly (Oxford University Press, 1993). He has published numerous articles in professional journals and has contributed several book chapters. He also wrote two entries for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). The topics of his published work include conscientious objection in health care, dismissing patients, research and teaching with recently deceased patients, end of life decision-making, decision-making capacity, futility, ethics and aging, preferential treatment, censorship, and abortion.  He also published two articles and a book chapter on the television series, House, M.D.

He has given several presentations at meetings of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), and the American Philosophical Association (APA). He also has given several presentations at annual David C. Thomasma Memorial International Bioethics Retreats. He frequently presents talks and workshops on a variety of topics in bioethics for health professionals.  He was a member of the Ethics Consulta­tion Service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for over 20 years. He currently serves as co-chair on the UPMC Committee for Oversight of Research Involving the Dead (CORID) and is a member of two hospital ethics committees.

LaSells Stewart Center (campus map)
Ag Science Room
Robert Peckyno
robert.peckyno at oregonstate.edu
School of History, Philosophy, and Religion
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