To make moral sense in the clinical situation, we rely on traditional moral resources. The clinical situation, even under its new and puzzling conditions, still needs to be reinterpreted from within moral history. But this doesn’t quite do the job. The search for usable moral ideas continues.
Thinking with cases is the clue, but it is not clear exactly how that thinking takes place. The case is not just another name for the story. As we have seen, the story is layered by time and character, by teller and told-to, by style and mood. It is the way in which experience is opened up to self and to others. Thus, I tell myself a story as a prelude to retelling it. This begins when I find myself a person-in-need. The story then stands between my being a person and my becoming a patient. It conveys my presence and invites retellings in order to arrive at shared meanings. I do not simply dwell in some original story. To be sure, the event remains a permanent subtext. The original story is its reminder and, at the same time, becomes the center of other stories. So whatever else happens, it is imperative that the story not be trivialized, forgotten, or displaced. It is the invitation for someone to make story into case.
Differently structured, the case is both narrative and agenda. It is shaped by ideas and values, and by an intended outcome. These connect the case to other cases, to practices, and to background sciences like biology and chemistry. Thus the case recasts the story, moving it from the particular to the generalizable. The case is addressed not just to any
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Publication information: Book title: From Clinic to Classroom:Medical Ethics and Moral Education. Contributors: Howard B. Radest - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 105.
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