Medical Ethics - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780729582131

Medical Ethics

1st Edition

General Practice: The Integrative Approach Series

Authors: Kerryn Phelps Craig Hassed
eBook ISBN: 9780729582131
Imprint: Churchill Livingstone Australia
Published Date: 30th October 2012

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Medical Ethics - General Practice: The Integrative Approach Series - ‘Ethics’ is a word derived from the Greek ethikos, which means ‘habit’ or ‘custom’. Put simply, in modern usage it is the study of how we ought to live or act in response to the situations confronting us in daily life. Medical ethics in particular is a branch of bioethics and is the study of how we ought to live or act as doctors. Ethics, being a branch of philosophy, relates to things such as ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘duty’ and ‘morality’. Making decisions of an ethical nature in medical practice is often difficult and demanding, and the clinician has to balance medical considerations with legal and moral ones.
Taking the time to reflect upon ethical issues, and having a structured approach to doing this, can help clinicians to navigate through many potentially challenging situations. Not taking time for this can compound ethical and moral concerns. This has effects upon our wellbeing and can also have medico-legal implications.
As with many medico-legal dilemmas, ethical problems are often compounded by poor communication. This chapter does not present a detailed analysis
of particular and complex bioethical issues such as euthanasia, stem cell research or abortion. Nor does it make concrete pronouncements about the ‘correct’ view on given topics or course of action in given situations. It does, however, give an overview of generic ethical terms, concepts and methods that can be applied by the clinician to particular situations. We are interested here in ‘applied ethics’ and not simply ‘theoretical ethics’ or ‘meta-ethics’.


© Churchill Livingstone Australia 2010
30th October 2012
Churchill Livingstone Australia
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Kerryn Phelps

Affiliations and Expertise

Conjoint Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of NSW

Craig Hassed

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Clinical Lecturer, Deputy Head of Department, Department of General Practice, Monash University