As the latest offering in the discussion of family presence in critical care units, a review of research on the presence of patients’ family members during cardiopulmonary resuscitation was recently published. By organizing the literature in this review on the basis of the ethical perspectives of the researchers, the author, Margo Halm,1 locates the discussion of family presence in the realm of ethics and values. Of the 28 research reports she reviewed, 23 supported family presence during resuscitation by arguing from a utilitarian (teleological) stance that allowing family presence is the right action because it results in more overall benefit than does not allowing family presence. In response to the suggestion that family presence can be defended by a utilitarian argument, I would like to unpack some of the basic tenets of utilitarian theory, discuss its appeal as...

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