Moral Medicine, and a Doctor Term Paper

Pages: 5 (2188 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Medicine


In this version, ethics appear to be based on faith and saving transformation, which cannot be assumed to always exist. Yet would be blatant discrimination to say that only men of great faith could be doctors (who would judge their faith?), especially since many atheists are deeply moral. Additionally, having covenants be based on faith and on the sense that this patient deserved care because (a) of their connection with this god and (b) because they were a part of the society to which the doctor owed a social debt, might mean that disenfranchised patients were taken less seriously. Already many religious doctors refuse to prescribe birth control pills to unmarried women, and some doctors have resisted providing treatment to people they disapproved such as homosexuals, drug addicts, welfare recipients, and so forth. What would happen if the quality of care was based not on legal contracts but on a sense of social obligation -- and then a patient came who the doctor considered to be a social burden who never contributed to the world? Covenants are a remnant of a primitive time in which gods held personal court over individual contracts, and when the only valid external code was based on the supernatural.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Moral Medicine, and a Doctor's Assignment

The only other issue that particularly stood out in reading this chapter was a very subtle undercurrent regarding the root cause of this guild-conscience and the posturing superiority of medical professionals: that an artificially created monopoly on healing was limiting the free market's regulation of bad doctors. The following facts were casually dropped over the course of the chapter, and each added to a startling picture bordering on conspiracy. The first fact was tied up in the argument that doctors owe society a debt because their social privilege and public funding enabled them to join the profession. In explaining this point, the author added that there were many candidates for medical school, and only a few were allowed in or were permitted to be licensed, and that this privilege was based on cultural privilege (e.g. ability to afford school, good social connections, etc.). This means that many potentially good doctors were not being trained because of the selective, classist schools. Yet there is more, for the author also explains that "the state sanctions a monopoly for doctors." Doctors cannot practice without a license, and cannot get a license without cultural privilege and without joining into the social "guild" of doctors during their residency periods. Those who fail to show loyalty to the guild by swearing to respect one's teachers and their children cannot become licensed. So only those who bow to the authority of the existing protectionist "covenanted" doctors can practice medicine. Yet within the same chapter the doctor laments the terrible, pressing shortage of doctors. He explains that patients may not be able to avoid bad doctors because there are not enough doctors to treat all the patients. In short, this means that patients are being forced to go to bad doctors who are protected by a powerful guild because the state has allowed this guild to limit the number of doctors (based on social privilege!) and created a false shortage of supply so that prices are higher and choice is decreased. If this monopoly was broken, the reader might speculate, then many more doctors could train and practice (perhaps with licenses from new, innovative schools of medicine) and the free market could decide the value of a given license provider and the worth of a doctor based on his record. Schools of medicine would be forced to self-regulate in order to maintain their "brand loyalty" as it were, and to prove that their licenses attested to quality. If, as the author suggests, the point of licensing is to force judgment, and judgment is not occurring, perhaps that monopoly should be broken. If the profession is "an elite, utterly beyond the reach of...criticism..." (122) and this is hurting patients -- maybe the time has come to allow open competition, and bring with it open criticism. That this is not even suggested as an option to the guild covenants or state-monopolized contracts… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Moral Medicine, and a Doctor" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Moral Medicine, and a Doctor.  (2004, September 21).  Retrieved August 4, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Moral Medicine, and a Doctor."  21 September 2004.  Web.  4 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Moral Medicine, and a Doctor."  September 21, 2004.  Accessed August 4, 2021.