The Fragile Web of Responsibility: AIDS and the Duty to Treat
Arras, John D.
Hastings Center Report. 1988 Apr/May; 18(2): S10-S20.
Arras maintains that the AIDS crisis confronts society with the need to re-examine the proper role and duties of physicians and of the medical profession. He rejects as ethically unacceptable and practically unworkable duties to treat based either on a voluntary, contractual physician patient relationship or on a social contract with the profession. Although a virtue-based approach upholds an individualized duty to treat, it depends upon society's shared concept of the good which is beginning to erode as AIDS is viewed as a problem of a stigmatized minority. Arras concludes that the medical profession and society must decide whether to reaffirm the ideal of self sacrifice for patient benefit or--in keeping with the recent drift to the entrepreneurial, scientific, or bureaucratic models--to accept a self-centered role for physicians that would signify moral failure and set a dangerous precedent. (KIE abstract)
Aids; Altruism; Attitudes; Codes of Ethics; Communicable Diseases; Contracts; Consultation; Ethics; Health; Health Care; Health Personnel; Historical Aspects; HIV Seropositivity; Incentives; Medicine; Moral Obligations; Obligations of Society; Obligations to Society; Patient Care; Physician Patient Relationship; Physician's Role; Physicians; Referral and Consultation; Refusal to Treat; Review; Rights; Selection for Treatment; Social Impact; Stigmatization; Virtues;
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