However, this ethical theory is incomplete. How does one define what the best outcome is? Examples of the different types of consequentialism aims at defining what the best outcome is:-
- "The best outcome is one which promotes the most happiness, pleasure, and the absence of pain.
- Egoism and Altruism
- "Ethical egoism (selfishness) - choosing the action that is best for oneself. This can have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the welfare of others.
- "Ethical altruism (selflessness) - choosing the action that benefits other's well-being apart from oneself.
- Rule consequentialism
- "Consequentialism at its core in promoting maximum good, but with certain fundamental rules that are seen as being important to follow. However, such rules that are chosen to follow will be based on the consequences that the selected rules will have.
- In some ways, rule consequentialism is essentially what a combination of consequentialism and duty-based ethics is.
Different types of ways in dealing with conflicts:-
- Kant's Moral theory
- Modern duty-based theories
- Prima Facie duties
- Autonomy -
Freedom of the patient to choose and be an advocate for their own health
- Beneficence -
What is considered to be of the patient's best interest
- Non-maleficence -
A counterbalance to beneficence. All treatments can in some way cause harm. The benefits of certain actions should be balanced against the amount of harm it can do. It has long been considered to be part of a doctor's duty of "first do no harm".
- Justice -
Equity and avoidance of unjustifiable discrimination.
In some ways, one might describe it as a combination of consequentialism and deontology; in essence, a rule consequentialism.
- Autonomy and Justice
consequentialism in what makes the patient and everyone else happy with the outcome, and societal impacts with regards to the distribution of resources and the overall positive outcome to society.
- Beneficence and non-maleficence
to weigh out the benefits and the duty of doing no harm to subsequently consider what is in the patient's best interest.
Care should always be taken when considering what the best course of action should be. Not doing anything can sometimes be ideal. As one famous saying goes, "It is better to do nothing than to do what is wrong". It may be that the decisions become easier to make when one returns to a problem or situation later on, or more often, that patients change their minds once they have had time to digest the information given to them, or when their disease process has progressed.
Try not to forget about dynamism.