Universal and Culturally Dependent Issues in Health Care Ethics
Mendes, Isabel Amelia Costa
Trevizan, Maria Auxiliadora
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2002; 21(1): 77-85
Our beliefs about morality are culturally embedded in social, religious, and political ideologies that influence individuals and communities. Ethical issues in health and medical care are often discussed in articles and at international conferences without explicit consideration of cultural assumptions that influence our beliefs about the significance and relevance of ethical concepts and principles. Helping people in need of care or denying people this help is dependent on values related to political decisions and organisational matters as well as professional and personal interpretations of moral obligations. In this paper we argue that explicit self-critical attention to the meaning of concepts and their cultural contexts is crucial in fostering mutual respect and understanding for different cultural frames of reference. This is especially important in the rapid development of international co-operation and globalisation.
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