Ancient Chinese medical ethics and the four principles of biomedical ethics.
The four principles approach to biomedical ethics (4PBE) has, since the 1970s, been increasingly developed as a universal bioethics method. Despite its wide acceptance and popularity, the 4PBE has received many challenges to its cross-cultural plausibility. This paper first specifies the principles and characteristics of ancient Chinese medical ethics (ACME), then makes a comparison between ACME and the 4PBE with a view to testing out the 4PBE's cross-cultural plausibility when applied to one particular but very extensive and prominent cultural context. The result shows that the concepts of respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice are clearly identifiable in ACME. Yet, being influenced by certain socio-cultural factors, those applying the 4PBE in Chinese society may tend to adopt a "beneficence-oriented", rather than an "autonomy-oriented" approach, which, in general, is dissimilar to the practice of contemporary Western bioethics, where "autonomy often triumphs". (+info)
The role of ethical principles in health care and the implications for ethical codes.
A common ethical code for everybody involved in health care is desirable, but there are important limitations to the role such a code could play. In order to understand these limitations the approach to ethics using principles and their application to medicine is discussed, and in particular the implications of their being prima facie. The expectation of what an ethical code can do changes depending on how ethical properties in general are understood. The difficulties encountered when ethical values are applied reactively to an objective world can be avoided by seeing them as a more integral part of our understanding of the world. It is concluded that an ethical code can establish important values and describe a common ethical context for health care but is of limited use in solving new and complex ethical problems. (+info)
Confidentiality and cognitive impairment: professional and philosophical ethics.
In the UK, the General Medical Council's new guidance on confidentiality restates the professional duty for doctors to regard personal information revealed to them as confidential. Such information can be shared only with the patient's explicit consent--the exceptions to this are narrowly defined. We believe the guidance does not adequately address the reality of confidentiality in modern practice, particularly in relation to patients with dementia. It seems to be naive or lacking in the subtlety required in complex clinical situations, perhaps because its legalistic, professional ethics have a philosophically limited view of confidentiality. A more sophisticated philosophical picture regards people as embedded in a shared, worldly context, in which relationships and mutual engagement become crucial. Attending to the reality of cognitively impaired people emphasizes this context and suggests that confidentiality cannot be an overriding principle--it is best regarded as a token of trust. (+info)
The 'four principles of bioethics' as found in 13th century Muslim scholar Mawlana's teachings.
BACKGROUND: There have been different ethical approaches to the issues in the history of philosophy. Two American philosophers Beachump and Childress formulated some ethical principles namely 'respect to autonomy', 'justice', 'beneficence' and 'non-maleficence'. These 'four principles' were presented by the authors as universal and applicable to any culture and society. Mawlana, a great figure in Sufi tradition, had written many books which not only guide people how to worship God to be close to Him, but also advise people how to lead a good life to enrich their personality, as well as to create a harmonious society and a peaceful world. METHODS: In this study we examined the major works of Mawlana to find out which of these 'four principles of bioethics' exist in Mawlana's ethical understanding. RESULTS: We have found in our study that all these principles exist in Mawlana's writings and philosophy in one form or another. CONCLUSIONS: We have concluded that, further to Beachump and Childress' claim that these principles are universal and applicable to any culture and society, these principles have always existed in different moral traditions in different ways, of which Mawlana's teaching might be presented as a good example. (+info)
Ethics and regulation in organ procurement research.
This article explores the role of ethics and regulation in human research conducted by organ procurement agencies; basic ethical principles for human research are outlined. Organ procurement agencies are not required to observe federal regulations; however, voluntary adherence will ensure that procurement research is conducted according to current standards of ethical practice. Although most organ procurement research will qualify for exempt status, this determination should be made by an institutional review board. Even if studies qualify for exempt status, there is a moral presumption that informed consent should be sought, unless certain narrow conditions for waiver of consent are satisfied. Finally, when future research utilizing organ procurement records is anticipated, procurement coordinators should provide sufficiently detailed information to families about such plans to permit their advance informed consent to research activities. (+info)
Methods and principles in biomedical ethics.
The four principles approach to medical ethics plus specification is used in this paper. Specification is defined as a process of reducing the indeterminateness of general norms to give them increased action guiding capacity, while retaining the moral commitments in the original norm. Since questions of method are central to the symposium, the paper begins with four observations about method in moral reasoning and case analysis. Three of the four scenarios are dealt with. It is concluded in the "standard" Jehovah's Witness case that having autonomously chosen the authority of his religious institution, a Jehovah's Witness has a reasonable basis on which to refuse a recommended blood transfusion. The author's view of the child of a Jehovah's Witness scenario is that it is morally required-not merely permitted-to overrule this parental refusal of treatment. It is argued in the selling kidneys for transplantation scenario that a fair system of regulating and monitoring would be better than the present system which the author believes to be a shameful failure. (+info)
Applying the four principles.
Gillon is correct that the four principles provide a sound and useful way of analysing moral dilemmas. As he observes, the approach using these principles does not provide a unique solution to dilemmas. This can be illustrated by alternatives to Gillon's own analysis of the four case scenarios. In the first scenario, a different set of factual assumptions could yield a different conclusion about what is required by the principle of beneficence. In the second scenario, although Gillon's conclusion is correct, what is open to question is his claim that what society regards as the child's best interest determines what really is in the child's best interest. The third scenario shows how it may be reasonable for the principle of beneficence to take precedence over autonomy in certain circumstances, yet like the first scenario, the ethical conclusion relies on a set of empirical assumptions and predictions of what is likely to occur. The fourth scenario illustrates how one can draw different conclusions based on the importance given to the precautionary principle. (+info)
Juggling law, ethics, and intuition: practical answers to awkward questions.
The eclectic problem solving methodology used by the British Medical Association (BMA) is described in this paper. It has grown from the daily need to respond to doctors' practical queries and incorporates reference to law, traditional professional codes, and established BMA policies-all of which must be regularly assessed against the benchmark of contemporary societal expectations. The two Jehovah's Witness scenarios are analysed, using this methodology and in both cases the four principles solution is found to concur with that of the BMA's approach. The author's overall conclusion is that although the BMA resorts to a lengthier list of things to consider, the solutions that emerge are often likely to coincide with the four principles approach. (+info)