Four Principles Of Bioethics

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Bioethics has four principles for which all healthcare professionals must abide by to be deemed practicing ethically. Each of the four principles go hand in hand with each other making it so one value should not be more important than another. This statement would go along with Beauchamp’s and Childress’ assertion that despite appearing first when recalling the major principles of bioethics, autonomy should not be taken to be the most important of the four (Beauchamp and Childress). However, autonomy may not be the most important, but neither are non-maleficence, beneficence or justice. Each of the four principles should be viewed as equals instead of being thought of as an ordered list of importance. Autonomy is the understanding that patients…show more content…
Doctors are not only required to not do intentional harm to the patient, but they are also required to go the route of treatment that would most benefit the patient without regards to themselves. Beneficence is a principle where doctors are expected to do no intentional harm to their patience, due to non-maleficence, but they are also expected to help a patient in a way that benefits the patient. For example, if a patient who just had bypass surgery wants to continue to smoke despite the doctor’s recommendation that they quit, the doctor has done everything they can to help the patient (Pantilat). The patient, in this case, was informed about what continuing to smoke would do but chose to continue to smoke. The doctor suggested a route of further treatment, but the patient made an informed decision that went against the suggestion. The doctor abided by the principle of beneficence and non-maleficence by suggesting a more beneficial and least harmful route while also respecting the autonomy of the patient. In this example and in many others, beneficence is an important principle because perhaps a patient would change their decision if they were given a route that was more beneficial to them and their situation. By doctors and other healthcare professionals giving patients the most beneficial treatments, they are ensuring that patients have all the options available to them when they make a rational decision. Beneficence ensures this which is why it should not be less important than non-maleficence or autonomy which do not ensure the best options are given. These three principles must be equal because they all rely on each other to work in the best favor of the
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