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Ethics in Public Health

Guest Editors

Mariana Dittborn, MD, MSc, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile and Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK 
Suzanne Metselaar PhD, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, The Netherlands
Guy Schofield, MBBS, MA, PhD, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College London, University of Bristol, UK

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 6 January 2025

BMC Palliative Care is welcoming submissions to a Collection titled Ethics in palliative care that will focus on the ethical considerations taken in end-of-life care such as advance directives, the decision-making processes, communication strategies, quality of life and symptom management dilemmas, and the critical evaluation of current end-of-life policies.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Mariana Dittborn, MD, MSc, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile and Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK

Dr Dittborn is a medical doctor. She has a master’s in clinical bioethics and palliative care with clinical experience in adult palliative care in Chile. She is a member of a clinical ethics committee at a pediatrics hospital and teaches ethics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels both in Chile and the UK. Her research interests are ethics and end of life care.

Suzanne Metselaar, PhD, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, The Netherlands

Dr Metselaar is an ethicist and senior researcher at Amsterdam University Medical Centers. She obtained her PhD degree in Philosophy at the VU University of Amsterdam. Presently, she leads the research program Ethics of Palliative Care & End of Life at the Department of Ethics, Law and Humanities. Her work revolves around addressing moral challenges in palliative care practice. These challenges may concern difficult treatment decisions between curative and palliative care, complex palliative care situations in which multiple perspectives on "good care" are at odds with each other, and end-of-life decision-making. Especially, she focuses on providing, developing and studying clinical ethics support instruments that help professionals to navigate their moral challenges themselves, in order to improve the quality of patient care and to promote their own (moral) resilience. One of those instruments is CURA. Furthermore, she studies palliative care education.

Guy Schofield, MBBS, MA, PhD, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College London, University of Bristol, UK

Dr Schofield is a palliative medicine physician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK. He also holds honorary academic positions at Imperial College London, and in the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol. He has academic interests in the philosophy of palliative care, everyday ethics in clinical practice, and global health and where palliative care’s place within it. His PhD examined real world ethical challenges experienced by specialist palliative care practitioners in Uganda. He sits on both clinical and organizational ethics committees, and teaches and examines ethics and philosophy of medicine at postgraduate level.

About the Collection

The primary objective in providing compassionate end-of-life care is to alleviate or prevent suffering while honoring the wishes of patients. However, palliative care presents healthcare professionals with many ethical challenges, especially when considering the well-being and interests of patients, families, and society. Consequently, navigating end-of-life care requires a profound understanding of the principles that underpin biomedical ethics. Healthcare professionals must navigate medical interventions, patient autonomy, and the broader societal implications of end-of-life decisions. Central to these challenges are critical decisions pertaining to resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, terminal sedation, withholding and withdrawing treatments, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide.

In light of these challenges, BMC Palliative Care is launching this Collection, inviting researchers to submit papers that delve into various aspects of ethics in palliative care. Topics of interest include articles that:

  • Explore the role and limitations of advance directives in guiding end-of-life decisions
  • Assess the ethical implications of respecting patient autonomy in the context of palliative care
  • Examine country-specific ethical frameworks that guide healthcare professionals in making challenging decisions for patients receiving palliative care
  • Evaluate the impact of cultural, religious, and socio-economic factors on decision-making processes in end-of-life care
  • Consider ethical considerations in obtaining informed consent for palliative care interventions
  • Explore ethical dilemmas related to the balance between symptom management and the potential prolongation of life
  • Examine the ethical dimensions of interventions aimed at improving the quality of life for patients in palliative care
  • Critically assess existing policies across countries related to end-of-life care and identifying areas for improvement from a culturally nuanced and ethical standpoint

Image credit: Parradee /

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select Ethics in palliative care from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.