Why is it important to study law, ethics, and bioethics?
The reason people study law, ethics and bioethics is because without the study of these areas people would only pursue their own self-interests and not necessarily what was in the best interest of mankind (Fremgen, 2008). There cannot be one without the other. Everyone has a different moral and religious background and this often influences people to study areas that are in agreement with their religious and moral beliefs. Basically, only the interests of the strong would outlast other interests, which in turn would limit what people would know about other areas of study. There are many other reasons why it is important to study law, ethics, and bioethics such as knowing the law can help someone through the legal system, knowing about ethics ensures that people know right from wrong, and knowing about medicine and new medical advancements can help to save lives.
Fremgen, B. F. (2012). Medical law and ethics (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Define the four principles that can serve as guidelines when making bioethical decisions, and give examples of situations in which these principles can be used.
There are four principles that can serve as guidelines when making bioethical decisions. The four principles are autonomy, beneficence, nonmalfeasance, and justice (Fremgen, 2008). The principle of autonomy can be defined as the ability of the person to make his or her own decisions. According to Fremgen (2008), informed consent falls under this principle. Informed consent is when a patient is informed and fully understands the information they are told prior to consenting for their treatment. Examples of promoting autonomous behavior include presenting all treatment options to a patient, explaining risks in terms that a patient understands, ensuring that a patient understands the risks and agrees to all procedures before going into surgery.
The principle of beneficence is action that is done for the benefit of others. Beneficent actions can be taken to help prevent or remove harms or to simply improve the situation of others. According to Fremgen (2008), this principle acknowledges that medical science is supposed to make the patient their number one priority. If and when there is uncertainty or a danger then this principle works with the principle of autonomy. Examples of beneficent actions include resuscitating a drowning victim, providing vaccinations for the general population, encouraging a patient to quit smoking and start an exercise program, talking to the community about STD prevention.
The principle of nonmalfeasance is derived from Latin Primum non nocere, it means to do no harm (Fremgen, 2008). This principle of nonmalfeasance finishes the principle of beneficence because it is asking medical personnel to only benefit others and then with nonmalfeasance it is asking medical personnel to do no harm (Fremgen, 2008). An examples of non-maleficent actions include stopping a medication that is shown to be harmful, or refusing to provide a treatment that has not been shown to be effective.
The principle of justice means that all patients are treated equally regardless of their ability to pay for treatment or not, and without discrimination of any kind. For example, a long term care (LTC) facility was concerned that some of its residents were at increased risk for advancing illness by continuing to smoke cigarettes. The facility enacted a policy that prevented all facility residents from smoking anywhere on facility grounds. This situation violates the principle of autonomy as the residents were no longer allowed to smoke on facility grounds. It is also a direct violation of the principle of justice as the facility’s policy restricting smoking for the resident population, but not for staff or visitors. All parties in this community including residents, visitors, and staff were not treated