Ethics in Medicine

Ethics in Medicine

Ethics in Medicine

Ethics in Medicine

Synopsis

Noted neurosurgeon and author Milton D. Heifetz has made the tough decisions in tragic, often anguishing situations. As a member of hospital ethics committees for many years, Dr. Heifetz found that discussions of complex issues -- many involving urgent matters of life and death -- were all too often clouded by tradition, dogma, and gut reactions. A comprehensive moral foundation with the flexibility to respond to often rapidly changing circumstances is desperately needed if health-care professionals are to confront head-on the daily questions of medical ethics. Dr. Heifetz offers this moral grounding to help all who must make difficult medical choices: physicians, nurses, patients, families, and policy makers struggling to develop substandve rules for medical conduct.

"It is valuable to have a distinguished physician share his candid judgments on key medical issues ..". -- Journal of the History of Medicine

Excerpt

Ethics speaks primarily to the right and wrong in human relationships. It is from the study of ethics and, consequently, a better understanding of moral principles, that society may hope to enhance the sense of tolerance, fairness, compassion, and sensitivity to another's pain and thereby improve aspects of human behavior that place humans in a separate niche in biological history.

Ethical questions, especially as they apply to medicine, have become common topics of discussion during the past twenty years. Bitter disputes have arisen regarding abortion, suicide, human experimentation, as well as the management of the dying patient and the severely disabled newborn. These issues do not lead to gentle, dispassionate discourse. They are loaded with such emotion that it is sometimes difficult to look at them in a detached manner. This is especially true in a society that aims to be secular, but which is strongly influenced by religious doctrines. Because of the confusion surrounding these disputes, the medical profession has developed ethics and human experimentation committees to help resolve these complex issues, which are part of the daily life of physicians and other health-care workers. Within the past twenty years these committees have become standard . . .

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