This paper attempts to define the concept of placebo as it is used in the clinical context The author claims that X is a placebo if and only if X has such a property dp, that whenever in a therapeutic situation T a stimulus S appears, then in attending conditions A, it will cause a beneficial reaction R in the patient. Formally, the same structure may be used to define any pharmacologically active drug. The main difference between the drug and (...) a placebo is in the range of possible substitutions for X and the property d. For the active drug there is only one possible substitution for X and property d and it can be scientifically explained why, and how the drug works. In the case of a placebo a set of possible substitutions for X and d is open, and so far it is impossible to offer any scientifically valid explanation of the action mechanism of placebo. (shrink)
The concept of the art of healing is intrinsically connected with the idea of healing powers. There are at least three possible approaches to that idea and all of them have different implications for the problem of medical wisdom. These are: the idea of the healing powers of nature, the idea of the healing powers of science, and the idea of the healing powers of physician's personality. Having critically discussed those ideas I sketch an ideal of a wise physician as (...) someone who has a particular kind of knowledge, good judgement, and self-trust. Medical knowledge is certainly a necessary condition of being a wise doctor but it is not the sufficient one. And this is why patients generally prefer to seek help of “naturally wise physicians”. (shrink)
Technology has been developed in order to protect and safeguard human dignity; however, technology may also threaten it. The principle of human dignity plays an important role in assessing medical technology and medical practices. Keywords: autonomy, medical ethics, dignity, technology assessment, Poland, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
We report the results of a survey of the attitudes and practices of paediatricians in Warsaw, Poland, with respect to the treatment of infants born with severe handicaps. The results are compared with a similar survey conducted by Australian researchers (1). In the Polish medical community surveyed, unconditional respect for life is a dominant attitude. Our study has revealed a deeply-entrenched paternalistic attitude among Polish doctors and a strong unwillingness to distinguish between 'ordinary and extraordinary means' of prolonging life, as (...) well as an ambivalent attitude towards legal regulations binding in Poland. (shrink)