Professional article

Clinical indication as an ethical appraisal : the example of imaging before middle ear surgery

ContributorsHurst, Samiaorcid
Published inORL, vol. 72, no. 3, p. 138-143
Publication date2010

Purpose of the Study: Asking whether imaging is indicated before middle ear surgery requires us to examine the ques-tion of indication more generally. Procedures: Clinical indi-cation integrates different levels, which are distinguished in this paper. As deciding whether or not an intervention is indicated requires different approaches on each of these lev-els, these approaches are also explored. Results: Even when sufficient data are available to determine whether an inter-vention brings some benefit, knowing whether or not this intervention is indicated still requires us to answer 3 additional questions: (1) Is the intervention sufficiently beneficial to be clinically relevant? (2) Is the intervention ‘reasonable' in terms of its opportunity costs? (3) How are we to decide which interventions ‘make the cut', and which do not? Al-though we may all have an informed opinion on this topic, the question of the thresholds we ought to apply to very marginal benefits is one where the best answer can only be the one we have all agreed on. This requires a guideline in-tegrating elements of procedural fairness, developed in conditions of protection from the risks of conflicts of interests. Conclusion: Although some of these questions integrate considerations of costs, not all do. However, all integrate val-ue judgements, making clinical indication in part a question of ethical appraisal.

  • Middle ear surgery
  • Clinical indication
  • Preoperative imaging
Citation (ISO format)
HURST, Samia. Clinical indication as an ethical appraisal : the example of imaging before middle ear surgery. In: ORL, 2010, vol. 72, n° 3, p. 138–143. doi: 10.1159/000272135
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0301-1569

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