The concept of dignity receives much attention in biomedical ethics, especially with respect to care at the end of life. Paradoxically, the concept is used in moral arguments both for and against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This article aims to shed light on the contemporary concept of dignity.
More specifically, this article attempts to define the concept and show its relevance to arguments for the legitimacy of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Additionally this article offers guidelines for the appropriate role of dignity considerations in debates concerning end-of-life care.
The purpose of this essay is to inquire into the role, constitution, and practical management of hospital ethics committees (HECs). HECs have been established to provide guidance on the ethical dilemmas physicians confront in clinical practice. While HECs carry out collective decision-making based on procedural fairness, how is procedural fairness guaranteed? Three questions can and should be raised concerning HECs: a) What exactly is the role of HECs? B) How should HECs be constituted? c) How should HECs be managed? This article addresses these questions from a philosophical point of view and argues that HEC must involve ethical experts. Furthermore, this article offers a reasonable and ethical model for HECs, the so-called “Ethics Consultation Team,” and identifies the main role of HECs as providing ethical consultation in concrete cases.
This article reviews the background, history, character, and operation of the second edition of the Korean Research-based Pharma Industry Association (KRPIA) Code of Conduct. It then compares this code of conduct with those of 36 member associations of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and makes suggestions for improving the KRPIA Code of Conduct. The codes of conduct of the IFPMA member associations include items on interactions with patient organizations, sponsorship of continuing medical education, and fees for services such as consultations, speaking arrangements, and advisory board positions. However, these items are not included in the KRPIA code. It is argued that these gaps in the KRPIA Code of Conduct must be filled in order to improve the code.
Genetic researchers in South Korea have been critical of the nation’s Personal Information Protection Act since its inception, concerned that it would interfere with valuable research. Personal information on medical care and health conditions is required for genetic research. However Article 18 of the Personal Information Protection Act severely limits the ability of genetic researchers to carry out their work.
This article argues on the basis of the public benefits derived from genetic research that there should be exceptions for the purpose of genetic research to Article 18 of the Personal Information Protection Act.
The purpose of this study was to compare the differences in the understanding of the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment between intensive care unit nurses and patients’ family members. This study was a descriptive investigation using a structured questionnaire that was given to 91 ICU nurses and 76 family members of ICU patients in four university hospitals in South Korea. The data were collected from April to June, 2014 and the collected data were analyzed for frequency, percentage, χ2 test, and Fisher’s exact test using SPSS 20.0 program. The results of the study were as follows: 1) on the understanding of the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments, significant differences were found between nurses and patients’ family members; and 2) on the understanding of CPR, significant differences were found between nurses and patients’ family members regarding the following items: “the necessity of DNR,” “reason for the necessity of DNR,” “time to explain DNR,” “obligation to explain DNR for patients,” “performance of DNR for oneself,” and “the necessity for documented guidelines on DNR.” The results of this study suggest that there is a need for educational programs, especially for patients’ family members, regarding end-of-life care.
This article illuminates the relation between doctors and patients from the viewpoint of medical anthropology and ethics. The article also identifies the social structures that can prevent doctors from acting ethically. The proper relation between doctors and patients is not the relation between “I and it,” but rather the relation between “I and you.” The virtues of trust and concern are required to bring about this proper relation between doctors and patients. Medical science should regard human beings as subjects that continually produce their own meanings and have souls. Therefore, it is argued in this article that doctors must attend not only to the physical needs of patients but also to their mental and emotional needs.
Norman Daniels proposed the prudential lifespan approach (PLA) to resolve debates about ageism.
In this approach, he redefined the allocation of healthcare resources, especially regarding life-sustaining treatment, between age groups and tried to change the focus of the ageism debates from competition between the young and the old to personal allocative decisions within one’s lifespan. Using this approach, Daniels justified rationing healthcare resources by age in some limited settings. However, several critical problems remain with the justification of age-based rationing made by PLA. Brauer and Schefczyk have pointed to philosophical as well as practical problems with the PLA. This article examines both the PLA and the critiques of it offered by these two authors. While maintaining the basic idea of the PLA, several modifications to the justification of age-based rationing using PLA are made in order to solve these both the practical and philosophical problems. Furthermore, recommendations for the application of this modified justification of age-based rationing in a real-world setting are given.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of biomedical ethics awareness, moral self-concepts, and self-esteem among college students majoring in healthcare. This study employed a crosssectional survey design. The participants were 268 third- or fourth-year university students majoring in healthcare in South Korea. The statistical analyses include descriptive statistics of the respondents’ general characteristics, and the data were analyzed with a t-test and ANOVA using the SPSS WIN 18.0 program. The average score for biomedical ethics awareness was 2.01±0.20 (using a 4-point Likert scale); the scores for self-esteem and moral self-concepts were 2.04±0.45, and 2.17±0.31 respectively. Biomedical ethics awareness showed a positive correlation with moral self-concepts (r=.157, p=.011); and selfesteem showed a positive correlation with moral self-concepts (r=.596, p<.001). Reproductive ethics (r=.124, p=.043) and the right to life (r=.147, p=.016), sub-domains of biomedical ethics awareness, also showed positive correlations with moral self-concepts. The results of this study suggest that biomedical ethics education should focus primarily on reproductive ethics, the right to life, and the ethics of death.