Spiritual issues and bioethics in the intensive care unit: the role of the chaplain

Crit Care Clin. 1996 Jan;12(1):15-27. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0704(05)70212-8.


This article familiarizes the reader with the contributions of a hospital chaplain regarding spiritual and ethical issues in the intensive care unit. The unique training and perspective of the hospital chaplain are reviewed to explain how the chaplain and the parish minister compare. Cases are presented to illustrate how the chaplain functions, and specific topics of concern that relate bioethical issues with spiritual issues, such as organ donation, are addressed. Faith in "miracles" is discussed within a framework for interpreting religious ideation, particularly when belief prolongs death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care*
  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Ethics Committees, Clinical
  • Ethics Consultation
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Minors
  • Pastoral Care* / education
  • Pastoral Care* / organization & administration
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Professional Role*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement