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This article’s lead section does not adequately summarize key points of its contents. This article needs additional citations for verification. Medical ethics is a system of moral principles that apply values to the practice of clinical medicine and in scientific research. Medical ethics is based on a set of values that professionals can refer to in the case of any confusion or conflict. These values include the respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. The term medical ethics first dates back to 1803, when English author and physician Thomas Percival published a document describing the requirements and expectations of medical professionals within medical facilities.
The Code of Ethics was then adapted in 1847, relying heavily on Percival’s words. There are several other codes of conduct. The Hippocratic Oath discusses basic principles for medical professionals. This document dates back to the fifth century BCE. Historically, Western medical ethics may be traced to guidelines on the duty of physicians in antiquity, such as the Hippocratic Oath, and early Christian teachings. By the 18th and 19th centuries, medical ethics emerged as a more self-conscious discourse. In England, Thomas Percival, a physician and author, crafted the first modern code of medical ethics.
He drew up a pamphlet with the code in 1794 and wrote an expanded version in 1803, in which he coined the expressions “medical ethics” and “medical jurisprudence”. In 1815, the Apothecaries Act was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It introduced compulsory apprenticeship and formal qualifications for the apothecaries of the day under the license of the Society of Apothecaries. This was the beginning of regulation of the medical profession in the UK. In 1847, the American Medical Association adopted its first code of ethics, with this being based in large part upon Percival’s work. Since the 1970s, the growing influence of ethics in contemporary medicine can be seen in the increasing use of Institutional Review Boards to evaluate experiments on human subjects, the establishment of hospital ethics committees, the expansion of the role of clinician ethicists, and the integration of ethics into many medical school curricula. A common framework used in the analysis of medical ethics is the “four principles” approach postulated by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress in their textbook Principles of biomedical ethics.
It recognizes four basic moral principles, which are to be judged and weighed against each other, with attention given to the scope of their application. When moral values are in conflict, the result may be an ethical dilemma or crisis. The principle of autonomy views the rights of an individual to self-determination. This is rooted in society’s respect for individuals’ ability to make informed decisions about personal matters with freedom. Autonomy has become more important as social values have shifted to define medical quality in terms of outcomes that are important to the patient and their family rather than medical professionals. The definition of autnomony is the ability of an individual to make a rational, un-influenced decision.
In the medical context, an uninformed person is at risk of mistakenly making a choice not reflective of his or her values or wishes. The World Health Organization has in 2002 launched its Ethics and Health Initiative, moral Resilience Nurses practicing in today’s health care environment face increasingly complex ethical dilemmas. He drew up a pamphlet with the code in 1794 and wrote an expanded version in 1803, feed detainees at Guantanamo Bay. In increasing frequency, recommendations are provided for experts, relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Quality care for all patients and communities.
Therefore, it can be said that autonomy is a general indicator of a healthy mind and body. The progression of many terminal diseases are characterized by loss of autonomy, in various manners and extents. For example, dementia almost always results in the loss of autonomy. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are often asked to evaluate a patient’s capacity for making life-and-death decisions at the end of life. Persons with a psychiatric condition such as delirium or clinical depression may lack capacity to make end-of-life decisions.
For these persons, a request to refuse treatment may be taken in the context of their condition. The term beneficence refers to actions that promote the well being of others. In the medical context, this means taking actions that serve the best interests of patients and their families. However, uncertainty surrounds the precise definition of which practices do in fact help patients.