The best course of action in the provision of health care is often clouded by competing interests and values, missing information, and undefined risk. Ethically fraught health care issues usually involve vulnerable people and include surrogate decision making, transplant, cost control, end of life care, and experimental treatment, among many others. The “right” decision is not always objective, and striving for it requires balancing considerations regarding quality of life, preservation of life, and public health. Health care law must codify rights and duties that promote an evolving understanding of human well-being. The traditional principles of biomedical ethics — Justice, Autonomy, Nonmaleficence, and Beneficence– must constantly be redefined in light of medical advances and complemented by new principles like Accommodation and Community.
This Committee examines current evidence and literature on health care innovations as well as persisting problems in health care, and collaborates with experts in relevant fields. These efforts lead to the development of policy recommendations, guidance documents, presentations, and education programs designed to assist practitioners and policy makers in refining the legal environment to be more conducive to our individual and collective health.