PHL302 (011): Ethics and HealthcareFall 2009
SECOND QUIZ: IDEAL ANSWERS
(1) Define the moral principle of informed consent in healthcare (3 marks).
The moral principle of informed consent states that, as a healthcare provider, one
ought to acquire the knowing authorization of any competent patient (e.g., mentally
competent, of sufficient age and maturity, etc.) for any significant action, procedure
or operation, that the patient undergoes. The principle demands two things: (1)
informing a patient fully about any significant medical action she might undergo,
and (2) acquiring her authorization for this action.
(2) Define the moral principle of veracity in healthcare (3 marks).
The moral principle of veracity states that healthcare providers should, all things
being equal, be truthful and honest in their dealings with patients. In particular, this
means healthcare providers should be open and honest in providing any
information about a patient’s health with respect to diagnoses, prognoses, and the
(3) Define the moral principle of justice and explain its relationship to the issue of
distributive justice in healthcare (4 marks).
The moral principle of justice generally refers to fairness or justice. It states that
one ought to be as fair or equitable as possible in one’s dealings with others, as far
as what’s owed to them.
One problem is that in giving something to one person we inevitably deny another
person something. This is a particular problem in healthcare where there are
limited resources to go around. Since there are not enough healthcare resources
such as medicine, medical equipment, medical labour to go around, we need some
principle for distributing healthcare resources in a fair or equitable manner.
Without a principle of distributive justice we risk allocating healthcare resources in
an unfair or arbitrary manner.