Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 9

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 9

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


(from Latin codex - book) A set of moral norms prescribed for execution:

  1. Code of Medical Ethics;
  2. Hippocratic Oath;
  3. Oath of the Doctor of the World.

Ethical (bioethical) committees

There are special structural subdivisions for independent ethical review, mandatory for all biomedical research. They first emerged in the 1950s in the United States for the purpose of official ethical review of research financed from the federal budget. In the Ethical committees not only biomedical but also psychological, anthropological and other studies are subject to obligatory ethical appraisal if they are conducted on people or animals. Since 1967, ethical committees have been established at hospitals and research institutions in the United Kingdom. As the practice of biomedical research expands, their ethical support by Ethical committees is becoming the norm all over the world. Today every research project has to be approved by the independent Ethical committees. At the present time Ethical committees are functioning in the World.

The Confidentiality Principle

(from lat. confidentia - trust) This is a principle that ensures mutual trust between the doctor and the patient. It is based on two ethical arguments:

  1. utilitarian, based on considerations of usefulness, because violation of confidentiality worsens the relationship between the patient and doctor and makes it difficult for the latter to perform his duties;
  2. deontological, based on moral considerations: each individual has the right to decide to what extent his thoughts, experiences, feelings can be communicated to another.

Professional (medical) corporatism

(from Latin. Corporatio - associations, community) This is devotion to narrow group interests within the limits of professional associations (corporations), that manifests itself in:

  1. preservation and cultivation of professional (medical) secrets;
  2. “professional solidarity” - help and defense of representatives of their (medical) “guild” in any conditions;
  3. special symbolism: traditions, customs, clothes;
  4. appeal to a special language of professional community (medical Latin).

Manassein V.A. (1841-1901)

He was “the knight of medical ethics”, professor, the editor of the Russian newspaper “The Doctor”. Irreconcilable opponent of private practice in medicine, demanded its dignified state support; he stood for the absolute preservation of medical secrecy under any circumstances. He is the author of one of Russia’s first “Ethical Rules”, published in the “Doctor” (1884).

Medical (medical) ethics

This is a branch of applied professional ethics, which is a part of biomedical ethics and regulates “human relations” in medicine vertically (doctor-patient) and horizontally (doctor-doctor) on the basis of traditional principles of medical deontology. Bears corporate character. Predominant attention is paid to the rights and duties of the doctor to the patients, as well as normative regulation of relations “within” the medical profession.


This is a universal human value, expression of humanity in a man, the most effective, “practical” form of compassion to the sick, “cordiality, readiness to do good to everyone, love in action” (V. Dal). Especially great is the role of Mercy in medical practice, which often deals with the disabled, the seriously ill, the infirm, the elderly. Mercy formed the basis of the name of one of the medical professions - “Sister of Mercy”.

Moll Albert

He was a German physician and author of Ethics of Medicine (1902), which deals with the basic rights and duties of doctors; he was one of the first to apply the term “ethics” to the medical profession.

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 23:42 UTC
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