Inpatient psychiatric units designed to reduce patients’ risk of harm to self or others can compromise patients’ comfort. Some environmental modifications prioritize safety by limiting patients’ access to personal items. This set of clinical phenomena is not ethically neutral and should prompt us to carefully consider when and how patients’ experiences of their care environments undermine therapeutic goals of their hospitalizations. This theme issue investigates which criteria we should use to assess and evaluate patients’ risk of harm to self or others and which values we should rely upon to guide which iatrogenic harm risks we accept as products or byproducts of clinical and organizational environmental designs.
Carmen Black, MD, Emma Lo, MD, and Keith Gallagher, MD
About the Journal
Our editorial mission is to help medical students, physicians, and all health care professionals make sound ethical decisions in service to patients and society. Founded in 1999, the AMA Journal of Ethics explores ethical questions and challenges that students and clinicians confront in their educational and practice careers.