Dr Zoë Fritz

  • College positions:
    Director of Studies in Clinical Medicine
  • Subjects: Medicine


MA (Gonville and Caius College, University Cambridge), MBBS (Honours) (Imperial College), PhD in Health Sciences (University of Warwick).

Research interests

Zoë Fritz is a Wellcome fellow in Society and Ethics, and a Consultant Physician in Acute medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.  Her research is focused on identifying areas of clinical practice that raise ethical questions and applying rigorous empirical and ethical analysis to explore the issues and find effective, feasible, person-centred solutions.   She works with colleagues in the Faculties of Law and Philosophy to ensure solutions are philosophically grounded and legally robust, as well as clinically practical and acceptable to all stakeholders.

Her work has stretched from developing and assessing a new approach to Resuscitation decisions (ReSPECT for healthcare professionals | Resuscitation Council UK - she chairs the ReSPECT subcommittee for RCUK); proposing changes to the law around the withdrawal of artificial nutrition in those in a persistent vegetative state; researching how clinicians make decisions to refer and admit patients to ICU; working with colleagues in the faculty of  philosophy  on the relationship between trust, questioning and the issue of “Too Much Medicine’; considering issues of when nondisclosure is morally permissible  in a medical setting; and proposing an adapted Rawlsian as a guiding philosophy for the NHS.

She is currently examining how uncertainty in diagnosis is communicated between patients and clinicians and documented. Uncertainty is ubiquitous in medicine, and yet there is very sparse evidence on how this is done, how much it varies, and the impacts (for example on the likelihood of a patient reattending with the same problem)  of communicating or not communicating uncertainty in diagnosis.  This is an interdisciplinary project, which includes ethnography, vignette studies, case law analysis  and philosophical enquiry.

Teaching interests

She leads the teaching in medical ethics and law for the undergraduate medical students, and contributes to the clinical ethics lectures.

She is Director of Studies for Clinical Medicine at Caius, along with John Latimer and Patrick Chinnery and provides clinical mentorship to those in the undergraduate years. 

Other interests

Music, tennis, and theatre – as both participant and audience in all three. 

Contributing to children’s books about the body and about going to hospital. 

Selected publications

Cox, C., & Fritz, Z. (2022). Presenting complaint: use of language that disempowers patients. BMJ, 377, e066720. doi:10.1136/bmj-2021-066720

Liddell K, Skopek JM, Le Gallez I, Fritz Z. Differentiating Negligent Standards of Care in Diagnosis. Med Law Rev. 2022;30(1):33-59.

Fritz, Z., Schlindwein, A., & Slowther, A. M. (2019). Patient engagement or information overload: patient and physician views on sharing the medical record in the acute setting. Clin Med (Lond), 19(5), 386-391.

Fritz, Z., & Cox, C. L. (2020). Integrating philosophy, policy and practice to create a just and fair health service. J Med Ethics, 46(12), 797-802.

Hawkes, C. A., Fritz, Z., Deas, G., Ahmedzai, S. H., Richardson, A., Pitcher, D., . . . Re, S. w. g. c. (2020). Development of the Recommended Summary Plan for eEmergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT). Resuscitation, 148, 98-107

Fritz, Z., & Holton, R. (2019). Too much medicine: not enough trust? J Med Ethics, 45(1), 31-35. doi:10.1136/medethics-2018-104866

Resuscitation policy should focus on the patient, not the decision

Zoë Fritz, Anne-Marie Slowther, Gavin Perkins BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j813 (Published 28 February 2017) PMC5330195

Can ‘Best Interests’ redirect the trolley? Examining withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration in patients in a Permanent Vegetative State - Zoe Fritz  J Med Ethics. 2016 Aug 31. pii: medethics-2015-103045. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2015-103045. [Epub ahead of print]

Should non-disclosures be considered as morally equivalent to lies within the doctor-patient relationship?" Cox, C. L. and Z. Fritz (2016). J Med Ethics 2016  42(10): 632-635.

Do-not-attempt-cardiopulmonary-resuscitation decisions: an evidence synthesis. Health Serv Deliv Res 2016;4(11) Perkins GD, Griffiths F, Slowther A-M, George R, Fritz Z, Satherley P, et al.

Development of the Universal Form of Treatment Options (UFTO) as an alternative to Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) orders: a cross-disciplinary approach. Fritz Z, Fuld J. J Eval Clin Pract. 2015 Feb;21(1):109-17.

The Universal Form of Treatment Options (UFTO) as an Alternative to Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) Orders: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of the Effects on Clinical Practice and Patient Care. Fritz Z, Malyon A, Frankau JM, Parker RA, Cohn S, Laroche CM, Palmer CR, Fuld JP PLoS One 2013;8(9):e70977.