Medical ethics is the discipline of evaluating the merits, risks, and social concerns of activities in the field of medicine.
Many methods have been suggested to help evaluate the ethics of a situation. These methods tend to introduce principles that should be thought about in the process of making a decision.
Six of the principles commonly included are:
- Beneficence - means that a practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient. (Salus aegroti suprema lex.)
- Non-maleficence - from the Hippocratic Oath, "never do harm".
- Autonomy - means that the patient should have the right to decide on their treatment. (Voluntas aegroti suprema lex.)
- Justice - concerns the distribution of scarce health resources, and the decision of who gets what treatment.
- Dignity - the patient (and the person treating the patient) should be given the right to dignity.
- Truthfulness - the patient should not be lied to, and deserves to know the whole truth about their illness.
|Table of contents|
List of topics in medical ethics
Issues around death and dying
Issues regarding reproductive medicine
Issues regarding medical research
Issues regarding distribution and utilization of research