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Principles of Ethics and Relation to Healthcare

This solution addresses the ways in which the four principles of Ethics: Autonomy; Beneficence; Non-Malfeasance; and justice have important resonance in the US healthcare system.

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Principles of Ethics

In short, the principles of ethics involve the study and understanding of issues and specific areas of study of morality, pertaining to human rights and values, fairness, treatment and conduct. Ethics play a very valuable role in health care and medicine starting with the thinking of Hippocrates.

The Four Principles of Ethics:
Autonomy - The right of patients to make choices regarding their health care
Beneficence - The obligation of health care providers to help people in need
Non-maleficence - The duty of health care providers to do no harm
Justice - The concept of treating everyone in a fair manner

Autonomy refers to the patient/individual's right to choose a plan of action and direction he/she chooses regarding life and death situations and decisions. It has important resonance in the US healthcare system because it means that patients have the right to make their own decisions concerning their care based on the concept of informed consent even when making certain decisions could in fact harm them based on religious, or cultural belief (i.e. Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions). However, the resonance or power of autonomy does not afford them this right if they are mentally incapacitated.

Beneficence refers to us doing good things to and for people rather than hurting them, and is often used ...

Solution Summary

The ethical principles serve to help nurses, doctors and other health professionals make uniformed, balanced, fair and moral decisions when dealing with patients and delivering care.