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Ethics, law, and moral decision-making

What distinguishes ethics from law? Are the ethics of all healthcare organizations the same? How do personal values affect moral judgements?

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Ethics is an area of study dealing with concepts of right and wrong, primarily in the realm of behavior. Right and wrong thinking tends to be more a subject of philosophy. The aim of ethics is to systematize, categorize, and defend positions of correct or incorrect behavior. When this process is codified by legislative action, it becomes law. A legal system cannot censure, or take action against an individual for unethical behavior that has not been so codified, however, organizations can censure for violations of their ethical practice standards. A good example is the AMA Code of ...

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Ethics deals with concepts of correct and incorrect behavior. When these principals are codified by legislative action, they become law. Groups with common interests, typically adhere to common codes of ethical behavior such as the AMA Code of Ethics for Physicians whereas groups with differing interests and goals may have different ethical standards. Personal values play a very large role in moral decision making and genetic influences are increasing recognized as critical in that process. Most moral decisions are made at a subconscious level followed by intellectualizing of that decision to justify it.

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