Empirical investigation of the ethical reasoning of physicians and molecular biologists – the importance of the four principles of biomedical ethics

Abstract
BackgroundThis study presents an empirical investigation of the ethical reasoning and ethical issues at stake in the daily work of physicians and molecular biologists in Denmark. The aim of this study was to test empirically whether there is a difference in ethical considerations and principles between Danish physicians and Danish molecular biologists, and whether the bioethical principles of the American bioethicists Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress are applicable to these groups.MethodThis study is based on 12 semi-structured interviews with three groups of respondents: a group of oncology physicians working in a clinic at a public hospital and two groups of molecular biologists conducting basic research, one group employed at a public university and the other in a private biopharmaceutical company.ResultsIn this sample, the authors found that oncology physicians and molecular biologists employed in a private biopharmaceutical company have the specific principle of beneficence in mind in their daily work. Both groups are motivated to help sick patients. According to the study, molecular biologists explicitly consider nonmaleficence in relation to the environment, the researchers' own health, and animal models; and only implicitly in relation to patients or human subjects. In contrast, considerations of nonmaleficence by oncology physicians relate to patients or human subjects. Physicians and molecular biologists both consider the principle of respect for autonomy as a negative obligation in the sense that informed consent of patients should be respected. However, in contrast to molecular biologists, physicians experience the principle of respect for autonomy as a positive obligation as the physician, in dialogue with the patient, offers a medical prognosis based upon the patients wishes and ideas, mutual understanding, and respect. Finally, this study discloses utilitarian characteristics in the overall conception of justice as conceived by oncology physicians and molecular biologists from the private biopharmaceutical company. Molecular biologists employed at a public university are, in this study, concerned with allocation, however, they do not propose a specific theory of justice.ConclusionThis study demonstrates that each of the four bioethical principles of the American bioethicists Tom L. Beauchamp & James F. Childress – respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice – are reflected in the daily work of physicians and molecular biologists in Denmark. Consequently, these principles are applicable in the Danish biomedical setting
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    Alexander Powell & John Dupré (2009). From Molecules to Systems: The Importance of Looking Both Ways. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (1):54-64.
    Lindley Darden & Michael Cook (1994). Reasoning Strategies in Molecular Biology: Abstractions, Scans and Anomalies. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:179 - 191.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

    Added to index

    2010-08-24

    Total downloads

    0

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    0

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.