Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 12

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 12

A brief review of the basic concepts of Biomedical Ethics. The following concepts will be discussed in this part:

Paternalism “weakened” (limited)

This is a borderline model of the doctor-patient relationship, which allows for a partial restriction of a person’s freedom in the case of a decrease in the level of their autonomy, for example, when it is necessary to keep an individual with a markedly reduced level of personality from causing significant harm to themselves or others (suicide attempt, drug-induced hallucinations) and buy time to discover the seriousness of their intentions.


(from Greek pathos - suffering and logos - teaching)

  1. a branch of medicine that studies painful processes and conditions in the living organism;
  2. a painful deviation from the norm.


(from Greek pathos - suffering and sophia - wisdom) This is “wisdom of suffering”, which consists of the ability to understand suffering, the willingness to accept suffering and the ability to overcome suffering. One’s response to suffering, one’s pattern of behavior, depends on one’s understanding of suffering and one’s attitude toward it. As a result, we either flee from it, or accept it. Pathosophy Appears as supreme wisdom for hospice staff and patients.

Pirogov N.I.

He was (1810-1881) - prominent Russian scientist, teacher, public figure, doctor, one of the founders of general surgery as a scientific discipline, founder of the military field surgery. For the first time he involved women (“sisters of mercy”) in care for the wounded at the front. In his well-known autobiographical work “Annals” he presents his views on problems of medical deontology, in particular on the problem of medical error.


This is a system of internally interconnected and coordinated with the surrounding environment actions of the object (subject), aimed at the realization of the corresponding functions. In a broader sense, we can talk about the behavior of any objects (from the electron to biological and social systems); in a narrower sense, the term “behavior” describes human moral actions (in philosophy and ethics) as well as system characteristics of the mental activity of biological individuals at various levels of organization to maintain their existence (in physiology, psychology, ethology, etc.). Relying on theories of reflex (N.A. Bernstein, P.K. Anokhin), Gestalt psychology (L. Lewin), psychological school (L.S. Vygotsky), geo-netical psychology (J. Piaget) and other approaches, which have been fixed in the framework of behaviorism (J.B. Watson). Modern bioethics explores specific mechanisms of human behavior in conditions of biomedical research; legal, moral and value parameters of behavior of medical professionals in conditions of decision-making in extreme situations; mechanisms of behavior regulation and interrelation of individuals and society, regarding the use of new biomedical knowledge and technologies.


This is a notion that reflects the value parameters and significance of individual items in relation to human and societal interests. In the context of activity-targeted approach the usefulness is that which contributes to achieving the goals, in terms of value-added approach the usefulness is that which along with achieving the goal ensures success, i.e. obtaining results close to the set goal, and efficiency, i.e. achieving the goal at the lowest cost. The principle of usefulness (“make the most of everything for your own benefit”) is thus complemented by the principle of success (“use the best means and strive to succeed in achieving the ends”). In bioethics, the moral, philosophical and civic-mindedness of the principle of usefulness is important; it allows us to establish the horizons for the socially significant individual conduct of scientists, physicians and specialists in biomedical research and experiments involving human subjects and to limit the egoistic-pragmatic willfulness and absolutization of the principle of usefulness and mercantilism, facilitating the development of the values of mercy and justice.

Potter Van Ransler

He was a renowned American oncologist who in 1969 introduced and defined the term “bioethics” and is considered to be the founder of bioethics as a new branch of science. He is the author of Bioethics: bridge to the future (1971), a book devoted to the search for solutions to the global problem of human survival, which includes demographic, ecological, and technological aspects. Potter assesses the problematic existence of humanity as a biologist, but he sees solutions in the moral perfection of consciousness, so he considers the new branch of knowledge - bioethics - as a “bridge to the future”, which should be based on the synthesis of scientific and humanitarian knowledge, where “ethical values should not be considered outside the biological facts”.

The rights of the Living

They are based on the principle of reverence for life, which recognizes the self-value of any Living as an independent entity, regardless of its benefits or harms to man. Moral and legal recognition of P.V. orient human community towards preservation and care for the Other Living. In some countries, P.G. is now being formalized as a legal right. The right to live with dignity implies the realization by the individual and society of an attitude toward life as a natural, inalienable right of every human being, which has belonged to him since his conception. Therefore any attempt to dispose of his life and health should be suppressed, including medical claims to fully decide the fate of patients, or state claims to solve its problems at the expense of the lives of citizens (for example, in waging wars), or society’s desire to ensure its security by preserving the death penalty.

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 23:44 UTC
Victor Sanikovich - Data Science Engineer / Environmental Scientist / Full Stack Developer / DevSecOps / Blockchain Developer