Providing health care in the most cost-effective way has become a priority in recent years. This book tackles the important issue of the potential conflict between economic expediency and the welfare of individual patients. Contributors examine different attitudes to this complex problem, along with a variety of legal and historical perspectives. The book addresses particular aspects of health care, such as medical expert systems, general practice, medical education, and clinical decision-making where the direct involvement of doctors in allocating (...) scarce and expensive resources is perhaps most obvious. (shrink)
The chronic worldwide lack of organs for transplantation and the continuing improvement of strategies for in situ organ preservation have led to renewed interest in elective non-therapeutic ventilation of potential organ donors. Two types of situation may be eligible for elective intensive care: patients definitely evolving towards brain death and patients suitable as controlled non-heart beating organ donors after life-supporting therapies have been assessed as futile and withdrawn. Assessment of the ethical acceptability and the risks of these strategies is essential. (...) We here offer such an ethical assessment using the four principles of medical ethics of Beauchamp and Childress applying them in their broadest sense so as to include patients and their families, their caregivers, other potential recipients of intensive care, and indeed society as a whole. The main ethical problems emerging are the definition of beneficence for the potential organ donor, the dilemma between the duty to respect a dying patient's autonomy and the duty not to harm him/her, and the possible psychological and social harm for families, caregivers other potential recipients of therapeutic intensive care, and society more generally. Caution is expressed about the ethical acceptability of elective non-therapeutic ventilation, along with some proposals for precautionary measures to be taken if it is to be implemented. (shrink)
Increasing European co-operation must take place in many areas, including medical ethics. Against the background of common cultural norms and pluralistic variation within political traditions, religion and lifestyles, Europe will have to converge towards unity within the field of medical ethics. This article examines how such convergence might develop with respect to four major areas: European research ethics committees, democratic health systems, the human genome project and rules for stopping futile treatments.
A number of recent publications by the philosopher David Seedhouse are discussed. Although medicine is an eminently ethical enterprise, the technical and ethical aspects of health care practices can be distinguished, therefore justifying the existence of medical ethics and its teaching as a specific part of every medical curriculum. The goal of teaching medical ethics is to make health care practitioners aware of the essential ethical aspects of their work. Furthermore, the contention that rational bioethics is a (...) fruitless enterprise because it analyses non-rational social events seems neither theoretically tenable nor to be borne out by actual practice. Medical ethics in particular and bioethics in general, constitute a field of expertise that must make itself understandable and convincing to relevant audiences in health care. (shrink)
Autonomy has been the central principle underpinning changes which have affected the practice of medicine in recent years. Medical education is undergoing changes as well, many of which are underpinned, at least implicitly, by increasing concern for autonomy. Some universities have embarked on graduate courses which utilize problem-based learning (PBL) techniques to teach all areas, including medical ethics. I argue that PBL is a desirable method for teaching and learning in medical ethics. It is desirable because the (...) nature of ethical enquiry is highly compatible with the learning processes which characterize PBL. But it is also desirable because it should help keep open the question of what autonomy really is, and how it should operate within the sphere of medical practice and medical education. (shrink)
This article develops a civic republican approach to medical ethics. It outlines civic republican concerns about the domination that arises from subjection to an arbitrary power of interference, while suggesting republican remedies to such domination in healthcare. These include proposals for greater review, challenge and pre-authorisation of medical power. It extends this analysis by providing a civic republican account of assistive arbitrary power, showing how it can create similar problems within both formal and informal relationships of care, and (...) offering strategies for tackling it. Two important objections to civic republican medical ethics—that it overvalues independence and political participation in healthcare—are also considered and rebutted. (shrink)
Although ethics is an essential component of undergraduate medical education, research suggests current medical ethics curricula face considerable challenges in improving students’ ethical reasoning. This paper discusses these challenges and introduces a promising new mode of graduate and professional ethics instruction for overcoming them. We begin by describing common ethics curricula, focusing in particular on established problems with current approaches. Next, we describe a novel method of ethics education and assessment for medical students that we have devised, (...) the Medical Ethics Bowl. Finally, we suggest pedagogical advantages to MEBs when compared to other ethics curricula. (shrink)
Research is increasingly recognised as a key component of medical curricula, offering a range of benefits including development of skills in evidence-based medicine. The literature indicates that experienced academic supervision or mentoring is important in any research activity and positively influences research output. The aim of this project was to investigate the human research ethics experiences and knowledge of three groups: medical students, and university academic staff and clinicians eligible to supervise medical student research projects; at two (...) Australian universities. Training in research ethics was low amongst academic staff and clinicians eligible to supervise medical student research. Only two-thirds of academic staff and students and less than half of clinicians surveyed indicated that specific patient consent was required for a doctor to include patient medical records within a research publication. There was limited awareness of requirements for participant information and consent forms amongst all groups. In the case of clinical trials, fewer clinicians and students than academics indicated there was a requirement to obtain consent. Awareness of the ethics committee focus on respect was low across all groups. This project has identified significant gaps in human research ethics understanding among medical students, and university academic staff and clinicians. The incorporation of research within medical curricula provides the impetus for medical schools and their institutions to ensure that academic staff and clinicians who are eligible and qualified to supervise students’ research projects are appropriately trained in human research ethics. (shrink)
The American Medical Association enacted its Code of Ethics in 1847, the first such national codification. In this volume, a distinguished group of experts from the fields of medicine, bioethics, and history of medicine reflect on the development of medical ethics in the United States, using historical analyses as a springboard for discussions of the problems of the present, including what the editors call "a sense of moral crisis precipitated by the shift from a system of fee-for-service medicine (...) to a system of fee-for-system medicine, better known as 'managed care.'" The authors begin with a look at how the medical profession began to consider ethical issues in the 1800s and subsequent developments in the 1900s. They then address the sociological, historical, ethical, and legal aspects of the practice of medicine. Later chapters discuss current and future challenges to medical ethics and professional values. Appendixes display various versions of the AMA's Code of Ethics as it has evolved over time. Contributors: George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ph.D., Robert B. Baker, Ph.D., Chester R. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Alexander Morgan Capron, J.D., Christine K. Cassel, M.D., Linda L. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot L. Freidson, Ph.D., Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D., Stephen R. Latham, J.D., Ph.D., Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Florencia Luna, Ph.D., Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Charles E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Mark Siegler, M.D., Rosemary A. Stevens, Ph.D., Robert M. Tenery, Jr., M.D., Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., John Harley Warner, Ph.D., Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. (shrink)
The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics is the first comprehensive scholarly account of the global history of medical ethics. Offering original interpretations of the field by leading bioethicists and historians of medicine, it will serve as the essential point of departure for future scholarship in the field. The volumes reconceptualize the history of medical ethics through the creation of new categories, including the life cycle; discourses of religion, philosophy, and bioethics; and the relationship between medical (...) ethics and the state, which includes a historical reexamination of the ethics of apartheid, colonialism, communism, health policy, imperialism, militarism, Nazi medicine, Nazi "medical ethics," and research ethics. Also included are the first global chronology of persons and texts; the first concise biographies of major figures in medical ethics; and the first comprehensive bibliography of the history of medical ethics. An extensive index guides readers to topics, texts, and proper names. (shrink)
This new edition of Law and Medical Ethics continues to chart the ever-widening field that the topics cover. The interplay between the health caring professions and the public during the period intervening since the last edition has, perhaps, been mainly dominated by wide-ranging changes in the administration of the National Health Service and of the professions themselves but these have been paralleled by important developments in medical jurisprudence.
This book is intended as a practical introduction to the ethical problems which doctors and other health professionals can expect to encounter in their practice. It is divided into three parts: ethical foundations, clinical ethics, and medicine and society. The authors incorporate new chapters on topics such as theories of medical ethics, cultural aspects of medicine, genetic dilemmas, aging, dementia and mortality, research ethics, justice and health care (including an examination of resource allocation), and medicine, ethics and medical (...) law. Medical Ethics also covers issues having to do with the beginning and end of life, as well as ethical questions surrounding the human body and the use of human tissue, confidentiality and AIDS, care of the mentally ill, and the implications of genetic technology. Each chapter presents a range of ethical views, drawing both from traditional philosophy and the most recent contemporary trends. The theoretical discussion is extended and illustrated by case studies and examples. This book is a non-technical guide to ethics written with the needs of medical students and medical practitioners in mind. It will also appeal to students and practitioners of allied health professions, and for all users of health care services. (shrink)
Medical ethics changed dramatically in the past 30 years because physicians and humanists actively engaged each other in discussions that sometimes led to confrontation and controversy, but usually have improved the quality of medical decision-making. Before then medical ethics had been isolated for almost two centuries from the larger philosophical, social, and religious controversies of the time. There was, however, an earlier period where leaders in medicine and in the humanities worked closely together and both fields were (...) richer for it. This volume begins with the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment when professors of medicine such as John Gregory, Edward Percival, and the American, Benjamin Rush, were close friends of philosophers like David Hume, Adam Smith, and Thomas Reid. They continually exchanged views on matters of ethics with each other in print, at meetings of elite intellectual groups, and at the dinner table. Then something happened, physicians and humanists quit talking with each other. In searching for the causes of the collapse, this book identifies shifts in the social class of physicians, developments in medical science, and changes in the patterns of medical education. Only in the past three decades has the dialogue resumed as physicians turned to humanists for help just when humanists wanted their work to be relevant to real-life social problems. Again, the book asks why, finding answers in the shift from acute to chronic disease as the dominant pattern of illness, the social rights revolution of the 1960's, and the increasing dissonance between physician ethics and ethics outside medicine. The book tells the critical story of how the breakdown in communication between physicians and humanists occurred and how it was repaired when new developments in medicine together with a social revolution forced the leaders of these two fields to resume their dialogue. (shrink)
The Italian code of medical deontology recently approved stipulates that physicians have the duty to inform the patient of each unwanted event and its causes, and to identify, report and evaluate adverse events and errors. Thus the obligation to supply information continues to widen, in some way extending beyond the doctor-patient relationship to become an essential tool for improving the quality of professional services.
This collection brings together original essays demonstrating the cutting edge of philosophical research in medical ethics. With contributions from a range of established and up-and-coming authors, it examines topics at the forefront of medical technology, such as ethical issues raised by developments in how we research stem cells and genetic engineering, as well as new questions raised by methodological changes in how we approach medical ethics.
The writings of the Scottish physician and philosopher John Gregory play an important role in the modern codification of medical ethics. It is therefore appropriate to use his work as a historical example in approaching the question how elements of aesthetics were incorporated in 18th century medical ethics. The concept of a Gentleman is pivotal to the entire medical ethics of John Gregory as it provides him with the ethical source of the duty to patients. Gregory makes (...) the trustworthiness of the physician a central point of his medical ethics, and it is in this context that Gregory declares good manners as an essential moral quality of a physician. This paper delineates how good manners are ethically justified in Gregory's medical ethics and concludes with an exploration of the importance of Gregory's conception for present day reflection on the inherence of aesthetics in ethical determinations. (shrink)
Business Ethics and medical ethics are in principle compatible: In particular, the tools of business ethics can be useful to those doing healthcare ethics. Health care could be conducted as a business and maintain its moral core.
We argue that a turn toward virtue ethics as a way of understanding medical professionalism represents both a valuable corrective and a missed opportunity. We look at three ways in which a closer appeal to virtue ethics could help address current problems or issues in professionalism education—first, balancing professionalism training with demands for professional virtues as a prerequisite; second, preventing demands for the demonstrable achievement of competencies from working against ideal professionalism education as lifelong learning; and third, avoiding temptations (...) to dismiss moral distress as a mere “hidden curriculum” problem. As a further demonstration of how best to approach a lifelong practice of medical virtue, we will examine altruism as a mean between the extremes of self-sacrifice and selfishness. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and practical guide to the ethical issues raised by different kinds of medical research, and is the first such book to be written with the needs of the researcher in mind. Clearly structured and written in a plain and accessible style, the book covers every significant ethical issue likely to be faced by researchers and research ethics committees. The author outlines and clarifies official guidelines, gives practical advice on how to adhere to these, and suggests (...) procedures in areas where official recommendations are vague or absent. This invaluable handbook will help researchers identify and address the ethical issues at an early stage in the design of their studies, to avoid unnecessary delay and to safeguard the wellbeing of patients and healthy volunteers. It will also be extremely useful to members of research ethics committees. (shrink)
Thus far in the development of the discipline of medical ethics, the overriding concern has been with solutions to specific problems. But discussion is hampered by lack of understanding of the scope and methodology of medical ethics, and its scientific and philosophical basis. In Underpinnings of Medical Ethics Edmond A. Murphy, James J. Butzow, and Edward L. Suarez-Murias offer much-needed clarification of the purview, ontological basis, and methodology of a medical ethics that is to be comprehensive (...) and yet readily accepted by all. The authors begin by describing the scope of the analysis and discussing possible ethical systems and paradigms. They then deal with the structures and concepts necessary in the formulation of a coherent philosophy: normality and disease, scientific and juridical law, certainty and certitude, decisions. Finally, they introduce particular human dimensions, such as quality of life, pain, and responsibility. Throughout, case examples illustrate the authors' theoretical framework. (shrink)
Medical ethics could be better understood if some basic theoretical aspects of practices in health care are analysed. By discussing the underlying ethical principles that govern medical practice, the student should also become familiar with the notion that medical ethics is much more than the external application of socially accepted moral standards. Professions in general and medicine in particular have internal values that command their moral virtuosity at the same time as their technical excellence. Three examples where (...) clinical practice can be clearly shown to require an ethical analysis are given: medical praxiology illustrates the motives, means and aims of physicians and patients; clinical decision-making as a practical syllogism that reaches prescriptive conclusions based on medical knowledge and the patient's wishes/intentions. Finally, diagnostics as an ethical bayesian approach is discussed, where the patient informedly decides the benefits and risks of further testing. (shrink)
United States military medical ethics evolved during its involvement in two recent wars, Gulf War I (1990–1991) and the War on Terror (2001–). Norms of conduct for military clinicians with regard to the treatment of prisoners of war and the administration of non-therapeutic bioactive agents to soldiers were set aside because of the sense of being in a ‘new kind of war’. Concurrently, the use of radioactive metal in weaponry and the ability to measure the health consequences of trade (...) embargos on vulnerable civilians occasioned new concerns about the health effects of war on soldiers, their offspring, and civilians living on battlefields. Civilian medical societies and medical ethicists fitfully engaged the evolving nature of the medical ethics issues and policy changes during these wars. Medical codes of professionalism have not been substantively updated and procedures for accountability for new kinds of abuses of medical ethics are not established. Looking to the future, medicine and medical ethics have not articulated a vision for an ongoing military-civilian dialogue to ensure that standards of medical ethics do not evolve simply in accord with military exigency. (shrink)
Compared to institutional and area-based ethics committees, little is known about the structure and activities performed by ethics committees at national medical organizations and societies. This five year follow-up study aimed to determine (1) the creation and function of ethics committees at medical organizations in Japan, and (2) their general strategies to deal with ethical problems. The study sample included the member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences (n=92 in 1998, n=96 in 2003). Instruments consisted (...) of two sections: (1) the structure, function and activities of ethics committees, and (2) the strategies for dealing with ethical problems. Response rates were 84.4% in 1998 and 64.4% in 2003. Findings showed a significant increase of ethics committees at medical organizations between 1998 (25.6%) and 2003 (50.0%). Members were mostly male, medical doctors in clinical or basic medicine, and members of the organization. The major functions of ethics committees were ethical reviews of research protocols, policy making and ethical reviews of manuscripts submitted for journal publication. Among organizations that did not have an ethics committee, a significant decrease was found in organizations that replied that they had never experienced an ethical problem which needed further investigation (p<0.01). Findings suggested an overall rise in awareness of the importance of ethical issues and also highlighted an increase in recognition of responsibility regarding ethical problems. (shrink)
The Polish equivalents of Research Ethics Committees are Bioethics Committees (BCs). A questionnaire study has been undertaken to determine their situation. The BC is usually comprised of 13 members. Nine of these are doctors and four are non-doctors. In 2006 BCs assessed an average of 27.3 ± 31.7 (range: 0–131) projects of clinical trials and 71.1 ± 139.8 (range: 0–638) projects of other types of medical research. During one BC meeting an average of 10.3 ± 14.7 (range: 0–71) projects (...) of medical research were assessed (2006). The amendment of Polish laws according with Directive 2001/20/EC caused a percentage increase in BCs which assessed less than 20 projects per year (16% vs. 33% or 42% in 2003 vs. 2005 or 2006 respectively, p < 0,05). The results confirm the usefulness of the current practice of creating BCs by medical universities, medical institutes and regional chambers of physicians and dentists but rationalization of the workload for individual BCs is necessary. (shrink)
Vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) was a common ailment among American women in the 19th century. Prior to that time, no successful surgery had been developed for the cure of this condition until Dr J Marion Sims perfected a successful surgical technique in 1849. Dr Sims used female slaves as research subjects over a four-year period of experimentation (1845-1849). This paper discusses the controversy surrounding his use of powerless women and whether his actions were acceptable during that historical period.
Should a brain-dead woman be artificially maintained for the sake of her fetus? Does a physician have the right to administer a life-saving transfusion despite the patient's religious beliefs? Can a family request a hysterectomy for their retarded daughter? Physicians are facing moral dilemmas with increasing frequency. But how should these delicate questions be resolved and by whom? A Casebook of Medical Ethics offers a real-life view of the central issue involved in clinical medical ethics. Since the analysis (...) of cases plays a critical role in this study, the authors have assembled a broad collection of histories encountered in their work as medical ethics educators and consultants. The cases are developed in substantial detail to reflect the rich medical and psychosocial complexity involved, and each is brought to a decision point at which a course of action must be chosen. Among the issues examined are conflicts between patients' wishes and respect for their well-being, tensions concerning duties to patients unable to care for themselves and obligations to family members, and clashes between patient care obligations and the interests of other persons, including physicians, third parties, and the general public. The book also includes commentaries that combine general discussion of ethical principles with specific analysis of the cases examined in the text, as well as various options for resolving conflicts. Readers are invited to assess the comparative merits and liabilities of these approaches. An ideal text for undergraduate and medical school courses, A Casebook of Medical Ethics brings readers to the forefront of medicine, where they share in the determination of crucial ethical decisions. (shrink)