When is medical science immoral?

iBrian

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Horrific experiments on living humans were apparently practiced by some Nazi doctors in the death camps.

How wrong would it be to use the research from such practices and include them in general medical reference? Would it be regarded as immoral to accept the conclusions of such experiments by way of being seen to justify unethical extremes?

How about the harvesting of stem cells from living human babies that are being left to die after abortion procedures? Is it making good of what would otherwise be a tragic waste of useful tissue? Or would that be a way of justifying the killing of unborn babies?

These two are rather extreme examples - but they serve to illustrate a key question - and that question is: how easy do you find it to agree or disagree with arguments of morality and ethics within medical researh, development, and general science?

General discussion starter.
 
Even if the medical graduates no longer automatically swear the oath (original Hippocratic oath or any other undated version), they are still bound by a code of ethics.

Here you have the MBA updated oath version 1997:

The practice of medicine is a privilege which carries important responsibilities. All doctors should observe the core values of the profession which centre on the duty to help sick people and to avoid harm. I promise that my medical knowledge will be used to benefit people's health. They are my first concern. I will listen to them and provide the best care I can. I will be honest, respectful and compassionate towards patients. In emergencies, I will do my best to help anyone in medical need.


I will make every effort to ensure that the rights of all patients are respected, including vulnerable groups who lack means of making their needs known, be it through immaturity, mental incapacity, imprisonment or detention or other circumstance.

My professional judgment will be exercised as independently as possible and not be influenced by political pressures nor by factors such as the social standing of the patient. I will not put personal profit or advancement above my duty to patients.

I recognise the special value of human life but I also know that the prolongation of human life is not the only aim of healthcare. Where abortion is permitted, I agree that it should take place only within an ethical and legal framework. I will not provide treatments which are pointless or harmful or which an informed and competent patient refuses.

I will ensure patients receive the information and support they want to make decisions about disease prevention and improvement of their health. I will answer as truthfully as I can and respect patients' decisions unless that puts others at risk of harm. If I cannot agree with their requests, I will explain why.

If my patients have limited mental awareness, I will still encourage them to participate in decisions as much as they feel able and willing to do so.

I will do my best to maintain confidentiality about all patients. If there are overriding reasons which prevent my keeping a patient's confidentiality I will explain them.

I will recognise the limits of my knowledge and seek advice from colleagues when necessary. I will acknowledge my mistakes. I will do my best to keep myself and colleagues informed of new developments and ensure that poor standards or bad practices are exposed to those who can improve them.

I will show respect for all those with whom I work and be ready to share my knowledge by teaching others what I know.

I will use my training and professional standing to improve the community in which I work. I will treat patients equitably and support a fair and humane distribution of health resources. I will try to influence positively authorities whose policies harm public health. I will oppose policies which breach internationally accepted standards of human rights. I will strive to change laws which are contrary to patients' interests or to my professional ethics.


I have a hard time to accept the results from the Nazi or Japs death camps. I don't think it's a good idea to include them as a reference. As you said, Brian, that was an unethical extreme behaviour of those "doctors". This will encourage, in my opinion, other to do the same thing in the future in the idea their research one day will be officially recognized and appreciated. This practise is closer to maddness than to a valuable path in research.
 
Dear Brian

What you have mentioned is immoral, i didn't know about the babies and I am horrified, so I am going now to have a drink.

Forgive them father they know not what they do.

But thank you Brian for bringing it to our notice.

Sacredstar
 
When medicine is commercialized, and begins to emerge not as a vehicle to maintain our physical and mental well being, but as an industry in and of itself, it becomes corrupted; thus, eventually will breach one or more of the ethical codes set down for it to operate with some measure of balance. When it breaks these codes and begins to regard human life as expendable (as was done using various excuses in the Nazi death camps) it becomes a bigger problem than any solution its methods can provide.
The results from experiments in the death camps, in my opinion, would be so ridiculously one-sided and distorted by political motives that there would be little benefit from using said results.
 
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