Biomedical Ethics?

bioethics, branch of applied ethics that studies the philosophical, social, and legal issues arising in medicine and the life sciences. It is chiefly concerned with human life and well-being, though it sometimes also treats ethical questions relating to the nonhuman biological environment.

The four principles of biomedical ethics as outlined by Beauchamp and Childress have become the cornerstones of biomedical ethics in healthcare practice. These principles, which we shall look at more closely in this post, are autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice.

1. Autonomy 

Autonomy is a vastly complex concept which has implications on a great number of disciplines from politics to moral philosophy. In recent years, it has become of great relevance to the field of biomedical ethics. For years in the healthcare profession the doctor-patient relationship was one grounded in paternalism with the patient deferring to their doctor when it came to their health.

However, in the last 60 years or so there has been a shift from this model to one in which the patient has a more active role in determining their healthcare needs and in choosing what treatment options would be best suited to them. As such, the relationship between the doctor and the patient has become more of a partnership with both taking an active role in making joint decisions compared to the older model which was more akin to the relationship between a parent and their child. 

Alongside this push for greater autonomy for patients, came a new found importance for consent given by patients for accepting medical care to ensure that they fully understand the procedure and what it involved, as well as the possible risks or side effects. The importance of this was highlighted in the Nuremberg code of ethics in 1947, which resulted from the Nuremberg trial following experimentation by Nazi scientists on a large number of the German population as well as captives from concentration camps. Whilst this code of ethics focused on creating global standards of ethical scientific research it gave rise to concepts such as informed consent and the idea that decisions by patients ought to be free from coercion. This is reflected in the first principle in the code of ethics which states: “Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity”. The consent described is intertwined with autonomy and indeed represents our capacity for autonomous choice.

What is Autonomy?

The word autonomy derives from the Greek ‘autos’, meaning self, and ‘nomos’ meaning rule or law. The etymology of the word suggests that the autonomous agent is one who can self determine or self-legislate their own life. Autonomy has a wide range of implications in a variety of disciplines including philosophy, politics and law. Dworkin reflects this, describing autonomy as “a moral, political and social ideal.” Due to the wide-ranging applications of autonomy I do not want to begin by searching for a singular definition of autonomy that would apply to all of them. Instead I will begin by looking at different philosopher’s conceptions of autonomy to uncover some of its fundamental features. 

Robert Wolff claims that people “are responsible for their actions…they are in some sense capable of choosing how they will act”. Wolff goes on to acknowledge the tension between autonomy and authority questioning how autonomy can be granted in a state along with laws – which he sees as restricting autonomy. J.L. Lucas agrees that we ought to be able to make our own choices stating: “I, and I alone, am ultimately responsible for the decisions I make, and am in that sense autonomous.” Just as Lucas does, Joel Feinberg argues against being ruled by authority declaring, “I am autonomous if I rule me, and no one else rules I.” 

What is bioethics in Christianity?

Christian Bioethics is a non-ecumenical, interdenominational journal, exploring the Christian faiths with regard to the meaning of human life, sexuality, suffering, illness, and death within the context of medicine and health care.

This assignment will incorporate a common practical tool in helping clinicians begin to ethically analyze a case. Organizing the data in this way will help you apply the four principles of principlism.

Based on the “Case Study: Healing and Autonomy” and other required topic study materials, you will complete the “Applying the Four Principles: Case Study” document that includes the following:

Part 1: Chart

This chart will formalize principlism and the four-boxes approach by organizing the data from the case study according to the relevant principles of biomedical ethics: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice.

Part 2: Evaluation

This part includes questions, to be answered in a total of 500 words, that describe how principalism would be applied according to the Christian worldview.

Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.

APA style is not required, but solid academic writing is expected.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.


Attempt Start Date: 01-Jul-2019 at 12:00:00 AM

Due Date: 07-Jul-2019 at 11:59:59 PM

Maximum Points:

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NURS6051 Transforming Nursing and Healthcare through Technology
This approach – focusing on the application of seven mid-level principles to cases (non-maleficence, beneficence, health maximisation, efficiency, respect for autonomy, justice, proportionality)
Bioethicists often refer to the four basic principles of health care ethics when evaluating the merits and difficulties of medical procedures. Ideally, for a medical practice to be considered “ethical”, it must respect all four of these principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence.
In that same year, three principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice were identified as guidelines for responsible research using human subjects in the Belmont Report (1979).
  • Respect for Autonomy. …
  • The Principle of Nonmaleficence. …
  • The Principle of Beneficence. …
  • The Principle of Justice.
Bioethics is a subsection of ethics, actually a part of applied ethics, that uses ethical principles and decision making to solve actual or anticipated dilemmas in medicine and biology.

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