1. Definition of Ethics
It studies how man ought to behave. Ethics is a thoughtful review of how to act in the best interest of patients and their family. It is also about making good choices based on beliefs and values regarding life, health, suffering and death.
Relationship of Ethics in other branches of science:
* Ethics and Logic- Studies the correct and organized thinking of a man. Focused foremost on demands of materials, nonhuman world, or world of “things” in one’s environment it is people-oriented
* Ethics and Psychology- Both deals with the study of man and his behavior. Studies how man ought to behave. Concerned with man’s moral obligation or the result of his behavior. It studies the human behavior from the perspective of morality.
* Ethics and Sociology- Sociology deals with the study of social order and human relations in a society. Sociology is related to Ethics because Ethics deals with the study of moral orders in a society.
Importance of Ethics:
Ethics form the base ground of values, which differ from one culture to another. Ethics was applied in health care system, since ancient Egyptian times. A physician has moral obligations towards his patient based on physician - patient's relationship. The ethical principle of confidentiality confirms that patient can trust his health care provider not to disclose any information that the patient may have given in order to get cured. A current ethical issue in research involving human participant's informed consent has prime importance. The subject and his guardian must have the capacity to understand the issue in question and the possible risks of treatment in the trial study. We need to do more to ensure that medical research practices are sound and ethical, and the goals of research should be secondary to the well being of the participants.
The study of ethics and the study and practice of healthcare have not merged much in the past, but nevertheless ethical standards are essential to the practice of the health professions. Each professional discipline has its own code of conduct, guidelines for practice and philosophy of care to direct practice within its professional remit. There have been several international declarations of human rights within healthcare to protect patients from unethical practices that might nevertheless be portrayed to them as necessary evils in the course of scientific research and utilitarian principles – that is, the greater good. Despite the relative lack of moral philosophy and healthcare ethics in the curricula of healthcare professionals, it does not take long for anyone in clinical practice to face their first ethical dilemma about which they are called upon to make a judgment or have a view.
In any healthcare system, whether organized and managed by the state or government or by the independent sector (private or non-governmental/voluntary) – or any mixture of these – moral issues will frequently be raised and should challenge the practitioner, teacher, manager or researcher. Establishing moral codes of practice between the various organizations mentioned above is important at the outset of any professional relationship or client encounter. For the practitioner the appropriate use of professional power, compared with the relative vulnerability of the lay client/patient during the first meeting, establishes the relationship for all future transactions between the two parties. In the context of progressive illness there are many occasions that will challenge this relationship as the illness trajectory takes its course.
2. Basic concepts in Ethics
Definition of Human Acts
Human Acts (Actus Humani) refer to “actions that proceed from insight into the nature and purpose of one’s doing and from consent of free will”. Specifically, human acts are those...