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  • 1.
    Evers, Kathinka
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics.
    Neurotechnological assessment of consciousness disorders: five ethical imperatives2016In: Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, ISSN 1294-8322, E-ISSN 1958-5969, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 155-162Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Disorders of consciousness (DOCs) cause great human suffering and material costs for society. Understanding of these disorders has advanced remarkably in recent years, but uncertainty remains with respect to the diagnostic criteria and standards of care. One of the most serious problems concerns misdiagnoses, their impact on medical decision-making, and on patients' well-being. Recent studies use neurotechnology to assess residual consciousness in DOC patients that traditional behavioral diagnostic criteria are unable to detect. The results show an urgent need to strengthen the development of new diagnostic tools and more refined diagnostic criteria. If residual consciousness may be inferred from robust and reproducible results from neurotechnological communication with DOC patients, this also raises ethical challenges. With reference to the moral notions of beneficence and fundamental rights, five ethical imperatives are here suggested in terms of diagnosis, communication, interpretation of subjective states, adaptation of living conditions, and care.

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