Moral reasoning among medical geneticists in eighteen nations


Abstract
We surveyed the approaches of 661 geneticists in 18 nations to 14 clinical cases and asked them to give their ethical reasons for choosing these approaches. Patient autonomy was the dominant value in clinical decision-making, with 59% of responses, followed by non-maleficence (20%), beneficence (11%) and justice (5%). In all, 39% described the consequences of their actions, 26% mentioned conflicts of interest between different parties and 72% placed patient welfare above the welfare of others. The U.S., Canada, Sweden, and U.K. led in responses favoring autonomy. There were substantial international differences in moral reasoning. Gender differences in responses reflected women's greater attention to relationships and supported feminist ethical theories.
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