Competing and conflicting interests in the care of critically ill patients

Alison E. Turnbull, Sarina K. Sahetya, E. Lee Daugherty Biddison, Christiane S. Hartog, Gordon D. Rubenfeld, Dominique D. Benoit, Bertrand Guidet, Rik T. Gerritsen, Mark R. Tonelli, J. Randall Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Medical professionals are expected to prioritize patient interests, and most patients trust physicians to act in their best interest. However, a single patient is never a physician’s sole concern. The competing interests of other patients, clinicians, family members, hospital administrators, regulators, insurers, and trainees are omnipresent. While prioritizing patient interests is always a struggle, it is especially challenging and important in the ICU setting where most patients lack the ability to advocate for themselves or seek alternative sources of care. This review explores factors that increase the risk, or the perception, that an ICU physician will reason, recommend, or act in a way that is not in their patient’s best interest and discusses steps that could help minimize the impact of these factors on patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1628-1637
Number of pages10
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Clinical studies as topic
  • Conflict of interest
  • Critical care
  • Patient-centered care
  • Research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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