Laying Medicine Open: Understanding Major Turning Points in the History of Medical Ethics
McCullough, Laurence B.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. 1999 Mar; 9(1): 7-23.
At different times during its history medicine has been laid open to accountability for its scientific and moral quality. This phenonmenon of laying medicine open has sometimes resulted in major turning points in the history of medical ethics. In this paper, I examine two examples of when the laying open of medicine has generated such turning points: eighteenth-century British medicine and late twentieth-century American medicine. In the eighteenth century, the Scottish physician-philosopher, John Gregory (1724-1773), concerned with the unscientific, entrepreneurial, self-interested nature of then current medical practice, laid medicine open to accountability using the tools of ethics and philosophy of medicine. In the process, Gregory wrote the first professional ethics of medicine in the English-language literature, based on the physician's fiduciary responsibility to the patient. In the late twentieth century, the managed practice of medicine has laid medicine open to accountability for its scientific quality and economic cost. This current laying open of medicine creates the challenge of developing medical ethics and bioethics for population-based medical science and practice.
Accountability; Bioethics; Competence; Conflict of Interest; Economics; Entrepreneurship; Ethics; Evidence-Based Medicine; Health; Health Care; Historical Aspects; Incentives; Institutional Ethics; Literature; Managed Care Programs; Medical Ethics; Medicine; Managed Care; Nature; Philosophy; Physician Patient Relationship; Physicians; Professional Ethics; Quality of Health Care; Resource Allocation; Science; Virtues;
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