`Watching' medicine: Do bioethicists respect patients' privacy?

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (6):537-552 (2000)
Abstract
Agich has identified `watching' – the formal orinformal observation of the medical setting – as oneof the four main roles of the clinical bioethicist. By an analysis of a case study involving a bioethicsstudent who engaged in watching at an HIV/AIDS clinicas part of his training, I raise questions about theethical justification of watching. I argue that theinvasion of privacy that watching entails makes theactivity unacceptable unless the watcher has receivedprior consent from the patients who are beingobserved. I conclude that, even though it isimportant for bioethics students to understand thecomplexities of actual medical practice, watchingshould play a prominent role in bioethics educationonly if the privacy problems in it can be resolved.
Keywords watching  privacy  bioethics  medical sociology  bioethics education  internship (non-medical)
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