CLINICAL ETHICS GRAND ROUNDS: What to Do When “There’s Nothing We Can Do”: Rethinking Ethical Obligations to Patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms
Many clinicians regularly encounter patients who believe they are sick but whose symptoms do not indicate a known organic pathology. Indeed, studies have consistently shown that at least 30-50% of somatic symptoms seen across most settings and in the general population are medically unexplained. Unfortunately, there is a gap between what patients expect, want, and deserve when they experience medically unexplained symptoms and what modern medicine tends to offer them. This presentation will seek to describe this problem and its many consequences for patients and clinicians alike, diagnose the historical and philosophical roots of the problem, prescribe some philosophical and ethical remedies, and offer some concrete recommendations on how to reframe the clinical encounter from a consultation aimed at discovering or ruling out organic abnormality to a collaborative, holistic healing endeavor with a unique and complex person.
Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:
Review the complicated history and the significant prevalence of medically unexplained symptoms across medical settings and in the general population.
Assess the ethical challenges and issues that arise when providing care for patients with medically unexplained symptoms.
Identify ideas from the philosophy of medicine, care ethics, virtue ethics, and narrative ethics to create an ethical framework to guide care for patients with medically unexplained symptoms.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
12:00-1:00pm, NURS-115 Auditorium
Light Lunch provided by the UK Program for Bioethics.
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