Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Discussion on the dilemma in bioethics using the various ethical theories

We often discuss bioethical principles using Beauchamp and Childress (2008)'s four bioethical principles (some people would say that there are more than four) but seldom do we teach or guide students through some of these bioethical dilemma (which we often face in real clinical practice) using the various ethical or moral theories in philosophy.

This short video starts with a case discussion follows by a short description of three common ethical theories. It's not meant to be a didactic tutorial but rather to trigger discussion among students.

Case scenario:
You are a house officer on duty. At 3.15 pm, you take some blood sample from a rather aggressive patient for some routine blood investigations that are due at 3 pm. Unfortunately, after you have taken the sample, you forget to label the sample bottles immediately. Worse still, one of the bottles drop on the floor and spill the sample. You would need to take a new 20-ml blood sample from this patient. You know that if you were to admit your blunder, he would ask you lots more questions than you can answer and furthermore, he is a hot-tempered man. You anticipate you will waste a lot of time with him and would result in delay in attending to other patients. Or you could lie to him and say that you need to do some additional blood tests that have just been ordered by your specialist (knowing that he would not question that). What would you do?

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