What is Medical Ethics?

Current Anaesthesia & Critical Care, Doi 10.1016

 By Andrew D Lawson 

Some critics of medical ethics claim it as mere sophistry. The attempt by humans to formulate principles and codes for moral behaviour is a feature of all known civilizations. Ethics, or moral philosophy, however came about with the Sophists of Greece in the fourth century BC. The critics are right in a way, not in the sense that ethical debate is subtly deceptive or necessarily sophisticated, but only in the sense that examination of critical ideas of moral conduct and techniques by which to discuss moral problems has its roots in Sophist Greece. The relationship between doctor and patient has always had a moral component, hitherto this component has been assumed. Swearing the Hippocratic oath and or qualification was deemed to be sufficient moral education. However the changes in biotechnology, changes in research ethics and profound sociological and cultural changes have made this assumption untenable. Knowledge of formal ethical models and an understanding of ethical principles have been inserted back into the medical curriculum where once it was studied as part of philosophy. This review summarises current ethical teaching. 1. Ethics: the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation, a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values. 2. Medical Ethics: The application of ethical reasoning to medical decision-making. 3. Moral Philosophy: Ethics; also: the study of human conduct and values.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010 by cait
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