Ethics and Error in Medicine  book cover
1st Edition

Ethics and Error in Medicine

ISBN 9781032176826
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
324 Pages

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Book Description

This book is a collection of original, interdisciplinary essays on the topic of medical error. Given the complexities of understanding, preventing, and responding to medical error in ethically responsible ways, the scope of the book is fairly broad. The contributors include top scholars and practitioners working in bioethics, communication, law, medicine and philosophy. Their contributions examine preventable causes of medical error, disproportionate impacts of errors on vulnerable populations, disclosure and apology after discovering medical errors, and ethical issues arising in specific medical contexts, such as radiation oncology, psychopathy, and palliative care. They also offer practical recommendations for respecting autonomy, distributing burdens and benefits justly, and minimizing injury to patients and other stakeholders. Ethics and Error in Medicine will be of interest to a wide range of researchers, students, and practitioners in bioethics, philosophy, communication studies, law, and medicine who are interested in the ethics of medical error.

Table of Contents


Michael S. Pritchard

1. Introduction: Medicine, Mistakes, and Moral Evaluation

Sandra L. Borden

Part I: Questions of Justice

2. Medical Error and Moral Luck

Fritz Allhoff

3. Toward a Restorative Just Culture Approach to Medical Error

Jeremy R. Garrett and Leslie Ann McNolty

4. Rehabilitating Blame

Samuel Reis-Dennis

Part II: Communication and Risk

5. A Communication-Based Approach to Safeguarding against Medical Errors: The Case of Palliative Care

Leah Omilion-Hodges

6. Communicating about Technical Failures in Assisted Reproductive Technology

Rashmi Kudesia and Robert Rebar

7. Respecting Patient Autonomy in Radiation Oncology and Beyond

Megan Hyun and Alexander Hyun

Part III: Vulnerable Populations

8. Medical Over-testing and Racial Distrust

Luke Golemon

9. The Epistemology of Medical Error in an Intersectional World

Devora Shapiro

10. The Harm of Ableism: Medical Error and Epistemic Injustice

Joel Michael Reynolds and David Pena-Guzman

11. Error and Determinations of Decision-Making Competence in Mentally Ill Patients

Kelsey Gipe

Part IV: Learning from Error

12. Medical Error as a Collaborative Learning Tool

Jordan Wadden

13. Inference to the Best Explanation and Avoiding Diagnostic Error

David Kyle Johnson

14. Psychopathy Treatment and the Stigma of Yesterday's Research

Rasmus Larsen

15. Reducing Medical Errors through Simulation: An Ethical Alternative for Training Medical Practitioners

T.J. Broy, Maureen Hirthler, Robin Rockhold, and Ralph Didlake

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Fritz Allhoff is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University. He has had fellowships in the Institute for Ethics of the American Medical Association and in the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School. His books have been published by Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, and others.

Sandra L. Borden is Professor in the School of Communication and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University. Her books include the award-winning Journalism as Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics and the Press (Ashgate 2007; Routledge 2009).


"This collection of essays offers an engaging treatment of the applied ethical concerns arising in connection with medical error, tackling questions of autonomy, consent, disclosure, and apology. Summing Up: Highly recommended."Choice Reviews