Essay on The Care Perspective in Medical Ethics

 The care perspective is a curious combination of an old and a new construct in medical ethics. It is complex, multi-layered and still developing. Feminist and nurse ethicists define the care perspective as the quality of binding to another human being through relationships and emotional attachments.

For them, this type of relationship gives meaning to human life. In medical ethics, the care perspective is most often described as an orientation or approach to ethical decision making. The proponents worry that if the care perspective remains as it has in the past, implicit, unidentified, unnamed and unacknowledged then it will continue to be omitted in medical ethics theory, it will not be included in medical ethics education, it will not be used in the MedMap, and both patient care and medical education will be the poorer for its absence. Their argument is simple: a care perspective is an ethical approach that has always existed at least implicitly in medical practice.

It is time to
1) rediscover it as a formal construct,
2) find its place in modern medicine,
3) include it in Medical ethics training, use it, teach it, and ultimately enrich the MedMap.
The care perspective has not yet been universally accepted in the medical ethics theory. There are some scholars who completely disagree with the proponents of the care perspective in medical ethics education and some who do not deign to express their opposition in writing but instead devalue it by disregarding it.

To summarize, the care perspective appears to be a relatively unexamined area, in which interest is growing, in both medical ethics and medical ethics education. But the discussion to date, has been by medical ethicists – both physician-ethicists and philosopher-ethicists, and it has, to the best of my knowledge, been largely confined to theoretical discussions- There have been few if any, articles written by physician-educators and little, if any, research on the views of the physician-educators on the care perspective.