Document Type


Publication Date


Published In / Presented At

Catholic Medical Association, Dallas, Texas


1. The Problem. “Proportionate means,” “ordinary means,” “the principle of double effect,” “moral certitude,” and “proximal material cooperation” are some of the philosophical concepts used in medical ethics. Oftentimes, well-intentioned clinicians misunderstand or misapply these concepts – or worse, they think that ethics is too complex and should be left to professionals. 2. The Solution. The Clinical Conscience Support Tool takes challenging, abstract concepts and translates them in a clinical context. This tool is designed to act like a good system ethicist - when you ask the right medical questions you can arrive at a morally sound conclusion. 3. The Technique. This is a tool designed to help form the provider’s conscience and to assist with patient counseling. This is not an “ethics algorithm” or a “decision tree.” Rather than forcing a physician/nurse to know ethics and ethical considerations and then apply abstract principles to specific cases, this method brings the relevant ethical consideration to the physician/nurse and asks them to do what they do best - make a medical judgment. 4. Conclusion. Catholics are duty-bound to follow their well-formed consciences when considering open questions. This tool should help physicians/nurses employ their conscience to arrive at a sound ethical decision. 5. The Ultimate Goal. This tool is made into a free mobile application for all Catholic health professionals and students. The tool can then be expanded, edited, and updated by experts in medical ethics.