Everyday Ethics Examples

A recent example of a model of the best way to care for dying patients was the Liverpool Care Pathway. It was developed at the Royal University Hospital in Liverpool, along with the Marie Curie Hospice also in Liverpool.


Many people criticised the LCP and dubbed it “the road to death”, but there was also a significant number of people who believed it provided a quiet and pain-free exit from a life that was near its end. However, there were cases of patients who recovered, after being taken off the LCP and given alternative treatment. Newspaper articles with storylines like this built up enough momentum to ensure the LCP could not continue as unquestioned policy.

An independent review was carried out, which recommended that the LCP be phased out within six months to a year of the review finishing. This was in the year 2013.


It is a great example of something already in place and being rolled out nationally, as a model for care for the dying, being overturned by reasoned argument. Crucially, the patient and their families were placed first when finding the solution to this most difficult of problems. It was this strategy that brought the controversy to an acceptable conclusion.

A second example in the public domain in recent times was the Charlie Gard case.

There was huge public interest in the case and the single goal every contributor had in common was to arrive at a solution which would be in Charlie’s best interests. Agreement among the parties concerned, as well as the wider public, proved to be elusive.

The story is reported here by the BBC in excellent coverage: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40554462

It is an opportunity for you to go through the events, on the basis of the ethics you know and to deal with the questions, without deferring to emotional reasoning.