Ethics, Morality, and Medicine Discussion Chapter

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Thus, it is almost impossible today to define a common set of medical moral principles to which all physicians subscribe." (Pellegrino, 2006,-Page 66)

There is no consensus of the moral and ethical codes of practicing medicine. This is alarming. Morals and ethics belong in the practice of medicine. Pellegrino continues and provides historical precedence for the necessity of ethics and morals with respect to practicing physicians:

"In a rather brief disquisition on medications, Scribonius put forward the notion that we should determine the responsibilities of the physician by examining the nature of medicine itself. He said that the aim of the physician, the end of medicine, was humanitas. That was the first time, as far as we know, that a word with that precise meaning was used in this connection. Humanitas -- humanity, a love of mankind, was not the same as philanthropia, the Greek concept which expressed rather a kindliness towards the patient that would enable the physician to have a good practice and a good reputation." (Pellegrino, 2006,-Page 66)

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One can only take a moment to imagine the experience of a physician as well as the quantity and quality of ethical and moral choices and/or situations one would encounter as a basic function of the job description. It is stunning to consider the physicians travelling around various hallways around the western world practicing medicine and treating swarms of patience and lacking or disagreeing upon the system of morals and ethics within the workplace and profession. How many people would continue to seek treatment at hospitals if they considered those questions? How many people would put their faith in physicians and hospitals after reading about Anna's experience? Ultimately, the books teaches that though Anna had the "right" or appropriate set of ethics and morals, she was meant to die so that Kate could live because Kate is the child her parents actually wanted.

Discussion Chapter on Ethics, Morality, & Medicine in Assignment

Out of all the characters in the story, the character of Kate might be the most challenging. She did not ask to be born; she certainly did not ask to have leukemia. She neither asked her parents to conceive and raise another child so as to harvest that child's body parts to keep her alive. Kate wants to live. Most people do. She also respects her sister's rights to have her own life. She additionally appreciates, while perhaps does not fully understand, why her parents made the decisions they made. Kate loves her parents; she loves her sister; and she loves life. On whose side is she? Or rather, because she can empathize will several people, on whose side is she not? Anna and Kate changed the Fitzgerald family. Even though Anna dies in a car accident, the family does not change or the family is restored to the state for which the parents fought for the duration of both the girls' lives. The family goes back to being a mother, a father, and Kate. There would be no Kate without Anna. There would be no Anna without Kate. Anna's life, Kate's disease, and the litigation for medical power of attorney acted as a mirror to reflect the ethical and moral characters of the Fitzgerald family, the medical profession, and the legal system.

References:

Arras, J.D. (2001) "A Method in Search of a Purpose: The Internal Morality of Medicine." Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 26(6), 643 -- 662.

Pellegrino, E.D. (2006) "Toward a Reconstruction of Medical Morality." The American Journal of Bioethics, 6(2), 65 --… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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