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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2006 Aug;24(3):513-45.

Ethical principles--emergency medicine.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine and Arizona Bioethics Program, The University of Arizona College of Medicine, 1501 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Neither law nor religion, bioethics absorbs and applies elements of both. Its theories, principles, and methods stem from various philosophical schools. Practitioners use case-based reasoning to apply bioethics to clinical situations, usually giving most weight to patients' autonomy and values, but also incorporating other relevant bioethical principles, including those encompassed in professional oaths and codes. Emergency clinicians must be able to recognize bioethical dilemmas, have action plans based on their readings and discussions, and have a method through which to apply ethical principles in clinical settings. This article provides an overview of ethical considerations and guidelines for emergency clinicians.

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