Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 15

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 15

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


This is an individual’s awareness of his/her physical, intellectual, moral, personal specificity, national and professional affiliation and place in the system of social relations.

Freedom of will

This is a philosophical concept, expressing the ability of man to moral self-determination, his moral autonomy, a kind of intellectual and moral expression of will. In modern bioethics the concept of free will is specified through such concepts as “freedom of decision-making”, “freedom of action”, “freedom of choice” and is closely interrelated with the moral and legal responsibility of the subject, making a decision in a particular biomedical situation.

Freedom of choice

This is a basic and necessary quality of moral choice. Choice is free when all intellectual and volitional capacities are engaged in it and when moral requirements merge with the inner needs of the individual. It is limited and unfree when reason is replaced by feelings of fear or duty caused by external coercion or arbitrariness, and the expression of will is complicated by contradictions between want, can and should.


This is an interdisciplinary trend in modern science, which substantiates the theory of complex self-organizing systems and studies joint action of many subsystems of very different nature, as a result of which the structure and corresponding functioning appear (Haken, 1978). It is the methodological basis of modern bioethics as a science.


This is the cessation of vital activity of the organism and, as a consequence, the death of the individual as a separate living system; the process of transition of the living to the dead. Defining the philosophical and ontological status of death presupposes the solution to the problem of existence and essence of death: if death (in the strict sense of the word) exists, then it represents the process of dying, the transition of one quality to another, one form of being to another.

Clinical death

This is a special kind of existence, a terminal state, the boundary of being and non-being of the living; the process of dying as a transition of one quality to another. Specific feature of clinical death. - Its basic reversibility as from the biological point of view during the Clinical death there are still a sufficient number of “elements of life” preserved, many functions of which have just stopped. The time interval, characterizing C.S. - 5-6 minutes (sometimes less) is a quantitative measure of still remaining life. Ethical imperative requires doctors to treat clinical death as a state in need of urgent care.

Death criteria

There are signs that determine the final degree of degradation of the life process and the objective onset of death. Modern concepts propose to consider brain necrosis as such criterion of death of a human individual, for it is in this case the autonomy and individuality of the personality are lost.


(from Latin sorror - nurse, gennao - to do) This is harm caused by the actions of a nurse. However, the Code of Nursing Ethics, which requires discipline and subordination, states in part: “It is designed to protect the rights of the patient when his or her health and safety may be affected by the incompetent, unethical or illegal actions of another individual (including a physician).”

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 23:48 UTC
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