To practice medicine and ethics, physicians need wisdom and integrity to integrate scientific kwledge, patient preferences, their own moral commitments, and society's expectations. This work of integration requires a physician to pursue certain goals of care, determine moral priorities, and understand that conscience or integrity require harmony among a person's beliefs, values, reasoning, actions, and identity. But the moral and religious pluralism of contemporary society makes this integration challenging and uncertain. How physicians treat patients will depend on the particular beliefs and values they and other health professionals bring to each instance of shared decision making. This book offers a framework for practical wisdom in medicine that addresses the need for integrity in the life of each health professional. In doing so, it ackwledges the challenge of moral pluralism and the need for moral dialogue and humility as professionals fulfil their obligations to patients, themselves, and society.
Lauris Christopher Kaldjian is Director of the Program in Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he holds the Richard M. Caplan Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities and is also a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. His research interests have been directed toward end of life concerns, goals of care, disclosure of medical errors, ethics education, and the role of philosophical and religious beliefs in clinical decision making. He has received research grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, and his publications can be found in a variety of medical and bioethics journals. At the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, he practices outpatient General Internal Medicine, chairs the Ethics Committee, and serves as Medical Director for Clinical Ethics. In the College of Medicine, he teaches ethics to medical students and co-directs the Humanities Distinction Track. He has served on the Ethics Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing, chaired the Ethics Committee of the Society of General Internal Medicine, and served as a Deputy Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine. He currently chairs the Committee on Law and Ethics of the Iowa Medical Society. He is a member of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and a Fellow in the American College of Physicians.