Michelangelo - God creates man (Genesis 2:7), 1512, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Vatican.
Western medicine was founded on our Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman heritage, where the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person are paramount for decision-making in patient care. Physicians receive a degree in the Art and Science of Medicine. Traditional Medical Ethics involves the application of religious principles to patient care. The recent attack on life in the womb and other challenges to the natural law have necessitated the involvement of the biological sciences, especially Embryology. In addition, we live in a multicultural and secular environment, where it has become difficult to maintain a universal sense of objective morality. This has only led to confusion among physicians, patients, and public alike. Universal agreement on moral issues between physicians and patients is no longer possible in our pluralistic society. We now speak of Biomedical Ethics, or the common term Bioethics, as the application of our ethical and moral principles to Human Life Issues. This page introduces the traditional viewpoint on human life issues. At the end of this presentation are links to individual topics.
TRADITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF MEDICAL ETHICS
There are seven principles of Medical Ethics: a Moral Code and moral justification; the Doctor-Patient Relationship; Patient Autonomy; Beneficence (the Good Samaritan); Do No Harm (or Nonmalificence); Justice; and the Physician's moral integrity and virtuous character. All seven principles must be in harmony for ethical medical care. First, there must be a moral code and moral justification to guide the physician in his actions. We learn as early as the Old Testament from Hebrew Scripture the value of life. In the Book of Genesis, God said Let us make man in our image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). We learn that God instilled the "breath of life" in man (Genesis... [continues]
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