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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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The Foundation of Modern Medical/Bioethics: Moral and Theoretical Frameworks (Reaction Paper Sample)


The position paper will locate and discuss a specific issue or case study involving ethical questions regarding patient consent, capacity or confidentiality. Students will be expected to provide a brief overview of the issue/case study and then present their own informed opinion on the topic. It will be expected that students will use both relevant course readings as well as two additional scholarly sources in the development of their argument in the paper. Your paper should be organized around a thesis, with a well-developed introduction and conclusion. Essays should be written in 12 pt font, double-spaced, with 1” margins. Your paper must have both a cover page and a separate bibliographic page that lists the sources used in the essay, and must conform to the guidelines set out for APA referencing, with respect to both in-text citations and a bibliographic reference page.


Sept. 18: The Foundation of Modern Medical/Bioethics: Moral and Theoretical Frameworks


Robert Baker and Laurence B. McCullough, “Medical Ethics' Appropriation of Moral Philosophy: The Case of the Sympathetic and the Unsympathetic Physician.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Volume 17, Number 1 (March 2007): 3-22. 


David Armstrong, “Embodiment and ethics: constructing medicine’s two bodies.” Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. 28 No. 6 (2006): 866– 881


Sept. 25: Patients and Health Care Providers

Group 1 Presentation


Andrew Carson-Stevens, et al., “Framing patient consent for student involvement

in pelvic examination: a dual model of autonomy.” Journal of Medical Ethics Vol. 39 (2013): 676-680.


Susan Sherwin, “Moral Perception and Global Visions,” Bioethics Volume 15 Number 3 (2001): 175-188.


Oct. 2: The Three ‘Cs’: Consent, Capacity and Confidentiality

Group 2 Presentation


Paul Weindling, “The origins of informed consent: the international scientific commission on

medical war crimes, and the Nuremberg Code,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine Volume 75, Number 1 (Spring 2001): pp. 37-7.


Madeleine J Murtagh and Julie Hepworth, “Feminist ethics and menopause: autonomy and decision-making in primary medical care.” Social Science & Medicine Volume 56, Issue 8 (April 2003): 1643–1652.


Catherine Frazee, Joan Gilmour, and Roxanne Mykitiuk, “Now You See Her, Now You Don’t: How Law Shapes Disabled Women’s Experiences of Exposure, Surveillance and Assessment in the Clinical Encounter.” Chapter 10 in Dianne Pothier and Richard Devlin, eds. Critical Disability Theory: Essays in Philosophy, Politics, Policy and Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006) [ebook available online through York Library’s website].


Position Paper
Author’s Name
University Affiliation
Position Paper
Over the last three decades, informed consent has been the focus of debates on ethically acceptable medical practice. Although informed consent may appear as a recent concept in medical practice, the issue originated after the Nuremberg Medical Trial, which saw to the ruling on criteria to carry out medical experiments. Historically, the use of human subjects in medical experiments was a criminal offence. Even after the proposal to use specific guidelines when conducting biomedical research, the judges failed to use the guidelines in reaching a verdict concerning the Nazi experiments (Paul, 2001).
In medical practice, healthcare providers perceive informed consent as necessary to justify actions, which could affect others, such as medical treatment, researches on human subjects and the use of human tissues in biomedical research. Although health care providers and investigators have provided arguments supporting informed consent, some of the arguments are unconvincing. Overall, informed consent is ethically important in today’s medical world because of the many and continuing medical advancements. Informed consent is not only present in medical practice, but also in education, including other fields where social relations have become more complex, less personal and displaced traditional approaches to trust (Madeleine, & Julie, 2003).
In the same context, institutions are finding informed consent as strategic, mainly because of the protection informed consent outlines in regards to, accusation, litigation and possible compensation awards. The concept of informed concept has raised various ethical issues, and such has undermined the ethical perspective of informed concept. This is because the ethical essence of informed consent, I perceive is elementary. In such a context, informed consent provides a patient, research subject or tissue donor with assurance that, the identified people have not been deceived. As such, it is another observation that, there should be detailed information concerning informed consent to avoid possible pitfalls in the future (Kinnersley et al., 2003).
Prior to conducting any medical activity, which involves human beings, the medical experts or professionals, must obtain informed consent from the humans (patient, tissue donor or research participant). Obtaining the consent will require a thorough discussion between the medical expert and the human being (patient, tissue donor or research participant), prior to the study, invasive procedure or request to donate tissues. The medical expert must provide or make known the results, procedures, risks and benefits of the medical procedure or study. In addition, the discussion should be honest, and the medical expert, after briefing the relevant human subject or patient, should accept the outcomes (O’Neill, 2003).
Informed consent is important in several ways. Although the procedure aims at diagnosing or improving health, risk of injury or any other adverse effect may arise. Commonly, the medical practice has relied on informed consent, mainly when it comes to surgical procedures. In case, the patient is not of age, that is; the patient is under the years of 16, then, it is important to seek informed consent from their relatives. Prior to giving an informed consent, evidence reports that, patients must understand the information provided, retained the information for enough time to understand, weigh all the risks or benefits and make a decision on either rejecting or accepting (Paul, 2001).
Notably, the number of surgical procedures conducted across the globe, continue to grow each year, which require informed consent from the patients. Apart from surgical procedures, the field of biomedical research is also growing rampantly. Medical experts are working hard to find cures to the life-threatening situations in human beings, which require the use of human subjects and human tissues in research. However, evidence reports that, the consent consultation in many cases, fail to meet the needs of the patients. Therefore, patients fail to receive understandable and adequate information, or in other cases, the information is not central to their specific needs. In this regard, failure of providing succinct information often results in problems, which has seen to the many formal complaints that have incurred significant costs (Kinnersley et al., 2003).
The concept of informed concept represents an ethical perspective in medical practice, and allowing patients to make decisions that, potentially influence their lives. However, in bioethics, there are pr...
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