Ethical decision making:
professional and consumer
'If my mind could gain a foothold, I would not write essays, I would make decisions, but it is always in apprenticeship and on trial.' 1
Since health care is a moral endeavour, no health care professional can disclaim their involvement in ethical decision making. An apprenticeship in identifying and justifying the highest moral interventions possible in the diverse and challenging situations which can arise in health practice is a searching, illuminating and rewarding process. In essence, the intention throughout this entire text has been to present the reader with a range of moral problems which commonly arise in health care practice and to provide a firm foothold in considering the ethical principles which form the foundation for analysis and decision making. In this final chapter, further issues relevant to decision making are considered from the perspectives of the health care professional and consumer in the wider context of health care delivery. These include the scope of decision making; process principles, frameworks for moral deliberation and factors affecting decision making, including the notion of consumer rights.