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Medical Ethics What’s it all about?.

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Presentation on theme: "Medical Ethics What’s it all about?."— Presentation transcript:

1 Medical Ethics What’s it all about?

2 Ethics A subfield of philosophy Aims to clarify the nature of
Right and wrong Good and bad Clarifies justification of ethical ideas Tells us how we ought to behave

3 Why bother with it Helps us with difficult decisions / ethical dilemmas Helps you understand other people’s view point Helps you understand your own view point

4 Major theories Deontology and utilitarianism Four principles
Rights based ethics Virtue ethics

5 Deontology – the science of duty
The morality of an action is intrinsic to the action itself rather than the consequences e.g. Killing is bad because the act of killing is wrong, regardless of the outcome Any rule that applies to you should apply to everyone – and no one should be treated as the means to an end (Kant)

6 Utilitarianism – maximising benefit
People should act in a way that will bring about the best possible outcomes overall “The greatest happiness of the greatest number” Whether an action is right or wrong depends on the outcome

7 Four Principles – the Dr’s aid
Respect for autonomy – let people decide for themselves Non-maleficence – do no harm Beneficence – do good Justice – be equitable

8 Rights – giving people their due
People have justified claims on others and society. Rights can be: Universal (apply to everybody) eg the right to be free Special moral rights (apply to some and not others) eg if Peter lends Tom money, Peter has a right to be paid by Tom Positive (the right to receive particular goods/services) eg to receive free emergency health care Negative (the right to be free from certain actions by others) eg to refuse immunisation

9 Virtue Ethics Focuses on the person carrying out the action rather than the action itself Importance of the virtues of the individual - good character, conscience and integrity Certain virtues can be attached to professional roles eg doctor’s role Perceived to be good = praiseworthy Perceived to be bad = blameworthy

10 Now Try putting it into practice Have fun!

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