Bioethics is governed by four major principles, namely: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The principle of autonomy requires healthcare professionals to respect the patient’s autonomy since the patient is considered to act intentionally and with understanding which mitigate against free and voluntary acts (McCormick, 2018). Nonmaleficence requires healthcare professionals to refrain from intentionally causing the patient harm or exposing them to injury through their acts and omissions. The principle advocates medical competence since proper standards of care are developed to avoid or minimize risks of harm.
The principle of beneficence imposes a duty on healthcare professionals to be of benefit patients and take positive steps towards prevention and elimination of harm. The duties imposes on healthcare professionals are deemed rational and widely accepted as proper goals of medicine. The principle is pivotal in the healthcare sector since the patient is able to develop a relationship with their care provider. Lastly, the principle of justice requires the fair distribution of services in short supply so that everyone qualifies for equal treatment.
The principle of autonomy is generally perceived the most important of all because the patient is always consulted first and their opinion should be respected. However, no hierarch should exists among the principles since the ultimate medical goal is providing the greatest benefit to the patient and each of the principles should be respected and balanced depending on the one that carries the most weight in a particular situation (Vaughn, 2019). Biblically, the principle that should be given utmost prominence is the principle of justice since humans are all equal before God and healthcare professionals should use their skills to improve everyone’s lives.
McCormick, T. R. (2018). Principles of Bioethics. Retrieved from UW Medicine: https://www.depts.washington.edu/bhdept/ethics-medocine/bioethics-topics/articles/principles-bioethics
Vaughn, L. (2019). Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases.Oxford University Press.
Principles of Biomedic Ethics
There are four principles of biomedic ethics namely respect of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice (Lawrence, 2007). The first principle of respect for autonomy ascertains that patients have the right to make the decision of the kind of treatment they want and we should respect and honor their decision. The second principle of non-maleficence argues that medical practitioners should act according to the rules and regulations and not to instill harm to a patient. The third principle of beneficence indicates that practitioners should ensure that they offer the best care to their patients and promote their health. The last principle is justice, which entails fairness, where practitioners should ensure that they treat all the patients with fairness during the caregiving process, especially in terms of costs and benefits.
It is crucial for medical practitioners to ensure that they abide by all these four principles. During the caregiving process, it’s upon the practitioner to assess the situation and identify the best principle to apply. Respect to autonomy should be the principle to be considered first during the care-giving process. This is because a patient has the right to decide the kind of treatment they want to be administered to them and medical practitioners should respect their decision and follow through with the treatment process as the patient sees fit. Other principles of beneficence, non-maleficence and justice should follow in that order based on the situation. When it comes to biblical narrative, I believe that the first principle should be the principle of justice. Biblical narrative insists on the fairness of all individuals, which is also the ideology of the principle of justice. Other principles should follow as such, non-maleficence because the Bible indicates that we should not instill harm, followed by beneficence, and justice.
Lawrence D. J. (2007). The four principles of biomedical ethics: a foundation for current bioethical debate. Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, (14), 34–40. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=105887311&site=ehost-live&scope=site