Contemporary

Bioethical
Principle
Prepared by: Micaela Garcia

Contemporary
Bioethical
Principle
1. Principle of Respect for
Autonomy
2. Principle of
Nonmaleficence
3. Principle of Beneficence
4. Principle of Justice

1. PRINCIPLE OF
RESPECT FOR
AUTONOMY
Autonomy - The capacity of a system to
make its own decisions about its actions

� The bioethicists Tom L.
Beauchamp and James F.
Childress discussed well
these contemporary
principles in their book
PRINCIPLES OF BIOMEDICAL
ETHICS.

� It is “ to acknowledge that
person’s right to hold
views, to make choices, and
to take actions based on
personal values and
beliefs.”

� The medical professional, who respects
the autonomy of his or her patient, must
provide him or her with all the information
he or she needs in order to make a right
decision regarding his or her illness.
*But the medical professional ahould not
make the dicision for his or her patient.

REMEMBER:
◇ The patient’s autonomy must be
safeguarded at all times.
◇ It is the patient who must decide.
◇ He or she needs to decide according to his
or her cherished values and beliefs.
◇ If the patient is in no position to make
such a decision, the right passes on to his
or her nearest relative.

1. PRINCIPLE OF
NONMALEFICENCE


� Every physician takes the
Hippocratic Oath.
� *Hippocratic Oath - An oath taken by
physicians to observe medical ethics
deriving from Hippocrates

� One of its tenets states: “I will
prescribe regimen for the good
of my patients according to my
ability and my judgment, and
never -do
harm to
anyone.”
� Regimen
(medicine)
a systematic
plan for therapy (often including diet)

� Thus, as presented by
Beauchamp and Childress, “The
principle of nonmaleficence
asserts an obligation not to
inflict harm on others. In
medical ethics, it has been
closely associated with the
maximum Primum non nocere:
‘Above all do not harm.’”

Word Origin
Nonmaleficence comes from the latin
words: (1) non – no; (2) male- evil,
wrong; (3) facere – do.
*In other words, nonmaleficence
ethimologically means do no evil or do


� The medical professional must
never do anything that will harm
or will be wrong for his or her
patient

3. Principle of
Beneficence


� Beneficence comes from
the Latin words: (1) bene –
good; (2) facere – do.

� Medical professionals
should not only avoid to
harm their patients; they
must contribute to their
welfare.

� In other words, they must
take positive steps to half
others; medical
professionals must do
good.


� The two factors on which
this principle is based.

The two factors on which this
principle is based:

1. Patients must
derive some
benefit from the
medical
services they
receive.

2. Such benefit
often comes
from the overall
balance of good
results over the
bad results.

4. PRINCIPLE OF
JUSTICE

� It was the Greek philosopher
Aristotle who enunciated well the
meaning of the principle:
� Equals must be treated equally, and
unequals must be treated unequally.

� All persons are equal in dignity and
worth, regardless of race,
background, wealth, or attainment in
life.

� But a host of other factors must be
considered in the concrete allotment
of oftentimes scarce medical
resources.

� Beauchamp and Childress have
pointed out the following as the valid
considerations in putting into the
principle of justice.

Principles of Justice

To each person an equal
To each
To each To each
share;
person
person
according to accordin person
according
To eachto
person
To need;
each g to
effort;
according
to freemerit;
person according
to

contribution;

market exchanges.

The person who is in greater need must be
given urgent medical attention.
Thus, one who is in life-threatening situation
must be cared for first rather than one who is
ill but is in no immediate danger of dying.
One who has exerted more effort to obtain the
necessary medical treatment deserves to be
treated first.

The individual who has contributed more to the
enterprise like in discovery of the drug or in the
building of the medical facility is entitled to medical
attention before others.
One whose life is of greater worth to the common
good of society also deserves to be treated first.
Finally, the one who can afford the treatment,
granted that all the preceding considerations are on
equal footing, is entitled to necessary medical