Original Essay Topic Suggestions In Medical Ethics

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Fresh Essay Topics In Medical Ethics: Professional Suggestions

Being a doctor is one of the most amazing things that a student can fight for. There are years and years of study, and you have to memorize more information than ever before. Besides, you have to understand people and comfort your patients, not only deal with their symptoms. Medical ethics will be a big part of your life, so you have to focus on every essay and find topics that will really make a difference. Here are some suggestions that will help you:

  • Doctor-patient confidentiality. A doctor is not allowed to talk with anyone else about his cases, not even with the family of the patient. This is a very strict rule and it is important for the patients to be able to trust their physician. What do you think about this rule?
  • Patients refusing the treatment. If you will become a doctor, you will face many difficult situations. For example, you can have patients that refuse the treatment, even though this might end their life. Do you think that a doctor should have the right to force a patient to accept the treatment?
  • Assisted suicide. In some countries, patients can commit assisted suicide. Doctors will assess his mental state and if there is a good reason for this, the patient can take some pills that will end his life. Considering the fact that the doctor took an oath to protect all the patients, do you think that this is moral?
  • Placebo effect. Placebo effect is used to treat various conditions, but this means that the doctor will lie to the patient telling him that he will receive an actual drug. On the other hand, most of the time this means that the symptoms of the patients will disappear. In this situation lying to the patient is acceptable? Visit this service to find some interesting opinions on this.
  • Terminal cases. Assume you have a patient and you have to tell him that his life will end in a few months. Do you think that you should tell this to the family even if he does not want to reveal this to anyone? Why yes and why not?
  • Health insurance. In some countries doctors are not allowed to treat patients if these don’t have medical insurance. Sometimes the patient can die from lack of treatment. Do you think that the doctor should ignore the law to treat the patient?
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    • BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY

    U.S. Military Medical Ethics Guidelines in Limbo

    By Adil E. Shamoo

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    As President Barack Obama’s term comes to a conclusion, various initiatives started under his administration remain unfinished.  One of these, the adoption of the recommendations of the Defense Health Board (DHB), “Ethical Guidelines and Practices for U.S. Military Medical Professionals,”  is of utmost importance to health care professionals in our military.

    Health care providers in the United States are bound by the Hippocratic Oath, medical ethics, respect for human rights, international declarations, Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Code, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration of Human Rights states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” Medical ethics embodies these historical documents and calls upon health care providers to do no harm to patients, obtain their consent, not violate their bodily integrity, and recognize their vulnerability. These principles apply to patients in civilian or military settings including the care of detainees and prisoners.

    After 9/11, conflicts arose between these ethical standards and the duties of health care personnel. These conflicts needed to be settled within a framework that respects the codes of ethical and professional conduct. The DHB report is a response to that overwhelming need.

    Senator Diane Feinstein , vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has written to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter urging the adoption of the recommendations. Support has also come from prominent bioethicists and human rights advocates . The World Medical Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are among the many groups that have condemned the participation of health care providers in interrogation, torture, or force-feeding.

    The urgency of the adoption and promulgation of the report before the end of the current administration’s term is essential. Our military health care personnel face numerous challenges, working under the most difficult conditions, as they care for combatants, prisoners, and detainees.  Complying with the ethical standards of the profession, as well as the oath of office to obey lawful orders, can present challenges under trying circumstances. These physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, medics, and allied health professionals balance what can be conflicting demands of professional and military standards with potentially grave consequences to their careers and lives.

     Currently, health care providers have few choices when faced with moral dilemmas arising from their participation in these duties. They can obey orders that would be considered unethical by universally accepted standards (as well as those standards set forth by their professional organizations) or face the consequences:  administrative hearings or court marshals which could result in dismissal, imprisonment, or dishonorable discharge. These health care providers can also suffer a loss of career with substantial financial and social ramifications should they choose to resist such participation. Psychological injuries can also result from participation in activities that one deems to be immoral.

    The DHB report, issued a year ago, addresses these concerns with 16 recommendations. Three of them are broad, far-reaching statements that are intended to alleviate some of the moral strain on these personnel.

    Recommendation 2, states, “Throughout its policies, guidance, and instructions, DoD must ensure that the military health care professional’s first obligation is to the patient.”  The recommendation preserves the autonomy of health care providers in their treatment of patients regardless of whether the patients are service personnel, detainees, or prisoners.

    Recommendation 3 reads, in part, that the Department of Defense “should excuse health care professionals from performing medical procedures that violate their professional code of ethics” and “the core tenets of their religious or moral beliefs.”

    Recommendation 7 states, “DoD should provide military health care professionals with privileges similar to those of Chaplains and Judge Advocates regarding their independence and obligation to protect privacy and confidentiality while meeting the requirements of line commanders.”

    Additional recommendations include the establishment of a Department of Defense infrastructure for training and education as well as consultation on military medical ethics.

    Long before the DHB report was issued, a Navy nurse (a lieutenant with 18 years in the Navy) on duty at Guantanamo Bay prison refused to participate in force feeding of detainees. The nurse faced an administrative hearing and a possible dishonorable discharge. If the DHB recommendations had been in place, the nurse would have been excused from performing the procedure. After the DHB issued the report, the Navy nurse was returned to duty without further action.

    Health care professionals should have the freedom to follow their conscience and their professional association’s code of ethics during their service in the military. The DHB report will not only ensure the moral comfort of our medical service personnel, it also stands as a moral document that can frame our moral intent as we go forward into turbulent times.

    Adil Shamoo, PhD, a biochemistry professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, is the chair of the Defense Health Board’s medical ethics subcommittee, which wrote “Ethical Guidelines and Practices for U.S. Military Medical Professionals,” the report approved by DHB. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the DHB, medical ethics subcommittee, or any of its members.

    Published on: May 3, 2016
    Published in: Hastings Bioethics Forum , Health and Health Care

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    The opinions expressed here are those of the authors, not The Hastings Center.