Medical ethics

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Medical ethics is the set of ethical rules that doctors follow. These ideas tell doctors how they should treat patients.

The earliest set of ethical ideas in medicine was the Hippocratic oath. (An oath is a special promise.) It was supposed to be written by Hippocrates but probably was not written by him.

Principles[change | change source]

There are 6 major principles (important ideas):

  • Beneficences - a doctor must do things that are good for the patient (the doctor is giving medical care to.)
  • Non-maleficence – a doctor must not try to hurt his patients.
  • Autonomy - the patient can say he does not want to be treated
  • Justice – talks about what is fair in giving people medicines and care. It talks about who gets what treatments.
  • Dignity - the patient (and the doctor) have the right to dignity (respect for someone as a person)
  • Truthfulness (being honest) – the doctor must tell the patient the truth

Medical ethics questions[change | change source]

Here are some kinds of medical ethics questions:

  • If there is not enough of a medicine to treat every person who has a disease who should get the medicine?
  • If a baby has a disease that will kill him very soon, what should a doctor do if the baby's mother says she does not want the baby to be helped?
  • A patient has an injury that cannot be helped and that will kill them in a few minutes. The patient asks a doctor “am I going to die?” What should the doctor say?

Other pages[change | change source]