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Medical Ethics 101
Publication Date:
5/8/2006
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Adult Study, Adult Study
Product Number:
TC0055

The complexities of medical care these days can be staggering. And much of the time decisions about medical treatment carry an inescapable sense of urgency. All kinds of potentially troubling situations arise regularly. When facing a potentially lethal illness or injury, should we always leave no stone of treatment unturned? How much detailed information should a patient expect to receive from a physician? How do we decide whether a patient should participate in a medical-research effort? How should we decide who should receive scarce organ transplants? Who should be making decisions about treatment when the patient is elderly and depressed? Who should be making decisions when a baby is born prematurely with severe and multiple defects? The list could go on and on.

Biomedical ethics is a growth industry, riding the coattails of astonishing technological advances in medical care. The literature is enormous and growing; no one except a full-time professional in the field can possibly keep up with it. So what's a thoughtful Christian to do? How can we sort through difficult ethical decisions about treatment? In times of urgent need, how can we draw upon the moral wisdom needed to help us and those we care about face complex decisions?

Four basic ethical principles have emerged as particularly helpful in understanding the tough moral questions arising in contemporary medicine and health care. This study reviews those principles and provides a framework in which to focus many of today's common health care dilemmas.

Jack A. Keller Jr. is a freelance writer in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds a PhD in religious ethics from Vanderbilt University.


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