Protective truthfulness: the Chinese way of safeguarding patients in informed treatment decisions.
The first part of this paper examines the practice of informed treatment decisions in the protective medical system in China today. The second part examines how health care professionals in China perceive and carry out their responsibilities when relaying information to vulnerable patients, based on the findings of an empirical study that I had undertaken to examine the moral experience of nurses in practice situations. In the Chinese medical ethics tradition, refinement [jing] in skills and sincerity [cheng] in relating to patients are two cardinal virtues that health care professionals are required to possess. This notion of absolute sincerity carries a strong sense of parental protectiveness. The empirical findings reveal that most nurses are ambivalent about telling the truth to patients. Truth-telling would become an insincere act if a patient were to lose hope and confidence in life after learning of his or her disease. In this system of protective medical care, it is arguable as to whose interests are being protected: the patient, the family or the hospital. I would suggest that the interests of the hospital and the family members who legitimately represent the patient's interests are being honoured, but at the expense of the patient's right to know. (+info)
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 virtue of nursing: the covenant of care.
It is argued that the current confusion about the role and purpose of the British nurse is a consequence of the modern rejection and consequent fragmentation of the inherited nursing tradition. The nature of this tradition, in which nurses were inducted into the moral virtues of care, is examined and its relevance to patient welfare is demonstrated. Practical suggestions are made as to how this moral tradition might be reappropriated and reinvigorated for modern nursing. (+info)
Arguments for zero tolerance of sexual contact between doctors and patients.
Some doctors do enter into sexual relationships with patients. These relationships can be damaging to the patient involved. One response available to both individual doctors and to disciplinary bodies is to prohibit sexual contact between doctors and patients ("zero tolerance"). This paper considers five ways of arguing for a zero tolerance policy. The first rests on an empirical claim that such contact is almost always harmful to the patient involved. The second is based on a "principles" approach while the third originates in "virtues" ethics. The fourth argues that zero tolerance is an "a priori" truth. These four attempt to establish that the behaviour is always wrong and ought, therefore, to be prohibited. The fifth argument is counterfactual. It claims a policy that allowed sexual contact would have unacceptable consequences. Given the responsibility of regulatory bodies to protect the public, zero tolerance is a natural policy to develop. (+info)
Comments on an obstructed death -- a case conference revisited: commentary 1.
The paper comments on Scott Dunbar's "An obstructed death and medical ethics," arguing contra Dunbar that we should not view truth-telling to the terminally ill as primarily governed by principles of veracity and respect for autonomy. All such rules are of limited value in medical ethics. We should instead turn to an ethics deriving from the centrality of moral relationships and virtues. A brief analysis of the connections between moral relationships and moral rules is offered. Such an ethics would lower the value that philosophical fashion places on truth-telling and autonomy and leave decisions about truth-telling and the terminally ill more dependent on the circumstances of particular cases. (+info)
Is there a duty to provide medical care to HIV-infectious patients? Facts, fallacies, fairness, and the future.
The author examines and rejects two common types of argument in support of the duty to care for persons infected with HIV, namely, the view that exposure to this contagion has been accepted (individually or communally) by physicians, and the view that physicians can be held to a high standard of moral conduct that encompasses a substantial degree of self-sacrifice. He suggests rather that the duty to care for the HIV-infectious patient is grounded in the harm that would ensue were discrimination to be permitted, and in fairness to those members of the medical profession who refuse to discriminate. (+info)
Ethical dimensions of the number of embryos to be transferred in in vitro fertilization.
PURPOSE: We propose an ethically justified policy for the number of embryos to transfer in an in vitro fertilization (IVF), by considering fourfactors: medical outcomes, patient's preferences, costs, and market forces of providers. METHODS: We develop an ethical framework that incorporates three ethical principles: beneficence, respect for autonomy, and justice; and three professional virtues: integrity, compassion, and self-sacrifice. RESULTS: This ethical framework calls for an informed consent process for IVF that provides: information about medical outcomes; information about the risks of multiple gestation; the opportunity to weigh the goal of pregnancy and live birth against the medical and moral risks of multiple gestation; evidence-based recommendations; protection of the woman from potentially coercive influences; and discussion of living with infertility and going to better centers. CONCLUSION: The number of embryos to be transferred in IVF should mainly be a function of the pregnant women's informed decision. Limiting the number of transferred embryos to two in all cases is not ethically justified at this time. (+info)