Ethical Aspects of Limiting Residents' Work Hours
Bioethics 2007 September; 21(7): 398-405
DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM: The regulation of residents' work hours involves several ethical conflicts which need to be systematically analysed and evaluated. ARGUMENTS AND CONCLUSION: The most important ethical principle when regulating work hours is to avoid the harm resulting from the over-work of physicians and from an excessive division of labour. Additionally, other ethical principles have to be taken into account, in particular the principles of nonmaleficence and beneficence for future patients and for physicians. The article presents arguments for balancing the relevant ethical principles and analyses the structural difficulties that occur unavoidably in any regulation of the complex activities of physicians.
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