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Keywords:

  • ethics of justice;
  • ethics of care;
  • ethical decision-making;
  • integrated approach;
  • extended rationality;
  • discourse;
  • virtues;
  • telos;
  • health care team

An integrated approach to ethical decision-making in the health team

When making ethical decisions there are different perspectives that health care professionals may use. This may lead to conflict and insufficient co-operation between the members of the health team. Two of these perspectives are the ethics of justice and the ethics of care. In a bid to gain a better understanding of the nature of ethical decision-making in the health team, a comparison was drawn between the ethics of justice and the ethics of care. The investigation into and comparison between the ethics of justice and the ethics of care revealed that the deficiencies in each of the two perspectives in isolation, in fact, necessitate the application of a combination of both perspectives. The aim of the article is to describe how the members of the health team can, in an integrated manner, apply both the ethics of justice and the ethics of care in their ethical decision-making. The central argument of the article is based on the following premises: (1) the inadequacy of the ethics of justice and the ethics of care in isolation necessitates that both these perspectives be applied; (2) the application of both these perspectives again requires an extended rationality and discourse and (3) discourse, in its turn, requires that the emphasis falls on a specific telos and that the participants in the discourse be endowed with certain virtues in order to abide by the rules of discourse.