According to our book, Health Care Ethics, ethics is the branch of philosophy that seeks to determine how human actions may be judged right or wrong (p.1). Also the study of ethics is a branch of philosophy that implies that the human mind is the fundamental means by which actions may be judged. According to Google the definition of ethics is the moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior or the moral correctness of specified conduct. If I were to define ethics according to what I believe, I would have to say that ethics are honesty, respect, fairness and consideration. To be ethical means to take every single aspect into consideration and to be fair in making decisions, especially when you are involving another human being. Another way of being ethical is respecting someone’s rights and doing what is right for them based on their situation. Ethics are different in every society, for example, “Whistle blowing”, pointing out peer who are doing wrong is normal in America and there are even hotlines set up in the workplace to call.
Although in France it is considered to be a bad thing to single your peers and it is frowned upon by many. According to the website www.ucl.ac.uk, Ethics in healthcare deals with the choices we make and our actions in relation to those choices. It deals with the choices made by both clinicians and patients and the duties and obligations of clinicians to their patients. Medical ethics also deals with the choices made by society, the distribution of resources and access to healthcare and the dilemmas arising from them. Ethics is not a set of rules, nor is it a formula: following rules blindly or rigidly is likely to lead to unethical practice because it fails to take account of circumstances or specific exceptions and fails to recognize new dimensions. According to our book , Health Care Ethics, it states that a “ An ethical dilemma arises when an individual or a society faces a choice of actions which are completely different, even completely opposite , yet seemingly each can be fully justified by an ethical theory ( P.4).
In the book, New Perspectives in Healthcare Ethics, it says, “Ethics is not a science; it is an art that requires every ounce of moral imagination, emotion, and though we can muster (P.9). The first theory of ethics is call consequentialism or utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which means that an accomplishment is right as far as it has a propensity to encourage happiness and wrong as far as it is more likely to generate the opposite of happiness. It also emphasizes that happiness should be generated not only in the performer of a taken action, but as well in everyone being influenced by it. The concept promoted by the theory is often expressed by the phrase “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”, and is also referred to as “the greatest happiness principle”. For example, we believe lying and stealing to be harmful practices. On the other hand, occasional lying to keep yourself away from embarrassment or an occasional stealing from a wealthy man would not have bad consequences, and therefore be allowable or even necessary according to Utilitarianism.
Natural law theory is one of the most significant theories in the philosophy of Classical Realism. Natural law or the law of nature is a theory that suggests the existence of a law whose subject matter is set by nature and that thus has authority everywhere. By natural law we mean the “unwritten law” that is more or less similar for everyone and everywhere. To be more accurate, natural law is the idea of a system of set moral values that is universal to all humanity and, as it is normally posited, is identifiable by human reason solely. Thus natural law is differentiated from positive law (which is man-made), the formal legal endorsements of a particular society, and is more about providing a pattern for them. Natural law is defined by principle of the practical order which is the one that guides individual’s actions in all the operations, and is anxious about the “good,” since we operate in terms of what a least appear to be good to us.
The major principle of natural law is though a formulation established upon the concept of the good and can be declared in the following way: The “good” (according to reason) ought to be done, and evil (what is opposite to reason) must be evaded. The apparent conclusion here is that our awareness of natural law is incomplete and almost certainly will always stay so. However, I prefer this theory to the other ones. Even though having numerous defects, I think it relates to modern society in the best way possible. It does truly explain human behavior in the most adequate way, while the other theories are mostly generating confusion. It is the society, community and individual that set moral standards that distinguish right from wrong. These standards are influences by the societal norms, philosophy, values and religious beliefs. An individual’s personal ethics reflect these moral standards and direct his or her choices and behaviors. Respect for the needs and rights of the patient form the foundation of ethical behavior in the health care field.
Baillie, H., McGeehan, J., Garrett, T., & Garrett, R. (1998). Health Care Ethics. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
Noble, R. (December, 2007). Introduction to Medical Ethics, Medical Ethics in the ‘Global Village’. Retrieved from www.ucl.ac.uk on February 2, 2013.
Tong, R. (2007). New Perspective in Healthcare. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson