- From Our Journals
Toward the Polyphonic Case
Abstract: Can one publish a bioethics case ethically? I suspect that most in bioethics would feel comfortable publishing a case if the subject—the patient—gave explicit permission, the amount of biographical information revealed was under the control of the subject, and the subject fully understood the benefits and risks of publishing the case. Some might add that the subject should have a chance to approve the final representation. I think that the ethics of publishing cases needs to be rethought. And this rethinking needs to be focused not on the way publishing a case might harm a patient (that is, nonmaleficence) but, rather, on how a case presentation does not convey the patient’s own voice in the narrative (that is, respect for autonomy). Bioethics needs a new model of case presentation: the polyphonic case, which demands that the subject be a part of the case’s construction.