Chapter 1 Notes
Biomedical ethics is the study of the theoretical foundation of rights and obligations in health care
relationships between various types of health care professionals and the patient or research
participant and the practical moral issues arising within these relationships.
Morality is a formal system meant to generate co-operative behaviour and regulate interpersonal
social relations through practical action guidance and conflict resolution.
Ethics is the systematic study of morality; the study of the concepts and theoretical justification
involved in practical reasoning or reasoning meant to be applied to govern individual behaviour.
Meta-ethics is the identification, explication and critical evaluation of morality as a concept,
abstracted from specific content or specific statements of behaviour.
Normative ethics is statements often in the form of principles or rules that tell people what to do or
how to behave to live a moral life.
Applied ethics is the study of the theoretical and practical moral issues involved in specific contexts
such as medicine, business or engineering.
Advance derivatives are written statements made while the patient is competent for use at a time
when she is no longer competent, stating what medical treatment would/ would not be acceptable
Passive euthanasia is the withdrawing or withholding of life-sustaining treatment to allow the
patient to die from the underlying illness or injury.
Active euthanasia is direct actions that result in the patient’s death such as giving the patient a
Physician assisted suicide is the voluntary suicide by a patient committed with the assistance of her
physician who typically provides the means to end the patient’s life.
Eugenics are controlled breeding practices used to improve the genetic quality of offspring
Allocation refers to the distribution of goods and services among alternative possibilities for their
Macro allocation is the social decisions made about the expenditure for the distribution of resources
intended for health care; for example, how much money the government puts towards health care.
Micro allocation is decisions made by particular institutions or HCP’s concerning who will obtain
available resources; for example, which patient will receive an available organ.
Commodification is the selling, buying or profiting from the sale of the human body, its tissue and or
the information derived from research on it.
Selfish egotist is an exclusively self-interested person who promotes primarily short term interests
Negative rights refer to the rights to non-interference according to which others refrain from doing
something to or interfering with an individual.
Positive rights ref