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Solo doctors and ethical isolation

Cooper, R.J. (2009) Solo doctors and ethical isolation. Journal of Medical Ethics, 35 (11). pp. 692-695. ISSN 0306-6800


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This paper uses the case of solo doctors to explore whether working in relative isolation from one's peers may be detrimental to ethical decision-making. Drawing upon the relevance of communication and interaction for ethical decision-making in the ethical theories of Habermas, Mead and Gadamer, it is argued that doctors benefit from ethical discussion with their peers and that solo practice may make this more difficult. The paper identifies a paucity of empirical research related to solo practice and ethics but draws upon more general medical ethics research and a study that identified ethical isolation among community pharmacists to support the theoretical claims made. The paper concludes by using the literary analogy of Soderberg's Doctor Glas to illustrate the issues raised and how ethical decision-making in relative isolation may be problematical.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2009 BMJ Publishing. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 11:31
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2014 23:54
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jme.2009.031765
Status: Published
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1136/jme.2009.031765
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10202

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