Yesterday's Ethics in Contemporary Medicine - Is It Still of Concern?
Prague medical report 2011; 112(3): 159-67
Discussions on questions and problems of medical ethics are on everyone's lips. The debates center for instance around the just allocation of public resources, demographical changes in our society or the guarantee of patient autonomy, thus posing questions on the technical progress in modern medicine. These contemporary conflicts in medicine are numerous, but not all of them are new; rather, the discussion in medical ethics on these dilemmas is bound to contexts and has historical roots. Some of these conflicts reach back to the medicine of the Renaissance and Antiquity, thus assigning actuality to the historical viewpoint. Taking history into account, one can benefit from a timeless content and not least get a feeling for historicity and contingency. Considering the creation of identity, the old authorities also represent central normative reference points for the ethical competence of physicians understood as an attitude within an interpersonal medicine. For this reason, the heritage of Hippocrates, which encompasses values and norms of the Hippocratic Oath, needs to be respected. Apart from other dimensions of knowledge and skills, the development of an individual ethical competence also requires awareness of the past, leading to an understanding for the historical, social and cultural relativity of medical action.
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