The articles on the foundational ethical principles in health care by Thompson (1987) and Hanlon (2001) both address the necessity of creating a universally agreed upon set of guidelines that apply to all professionals involved in healthcare. Contrary to popular belief, the Hippocratic Oath was scarcely consistently adhered to since its origin around 420 BC; furthermore, the Oath only applied to a fraction of the health care communities at any point throughout history (Thompson, 1987). In addition to how woefully inadequate the Hippocratic Oath is regarding both its application by all healthcare officials and its extreme brevity, the creation of a new set of ethical guidelines seems long overdue. These guidelines delve into detail and have updated relevance compared to the Hippocratic Oath. To insure the new framework considered all facets of healthcare, many individuals from a variety of related fields participated in the collaboration and formation of these guidelines, including ethicists, jurists, economists, and philosophers in addition to medical professionals. The inclusion of these professionals has yielded contributions like: an insurance administrator aiding in policy creation abiding by “do no harm,” a healthcare administrator contributing to the guidelines regarding focusing services on individuals vs. population, and the discussion among many of whose priority reigns supreme when conflict arises (Hanlon, 2001).
Within my personal ethical framework, I recognize several of the principles Hanlon (2001) elaborated upon.
I agree that “Healthcare is a human right” (Hanlon, 2001). Everyone should have access to basic healthcare.
I think that care should be “patient-driven”, rather than “patient-centered” in that the patient should have considerable say in their treatment.
I think that healthcare should promote health, and not only seek to treat disease/illness.
I agree that healthcare should require “cooperation with each other, those served, and those in other sectors” such that patients receive holistic care (Hanlon, 2001).
I also agree that all healthcare providers should “do no harm” as Hanlon (2001) outlines in the sixth principle presented.
- Hanlon, C. (2001). Ethical Principles for Everyone in Health Care. Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine, 192(1), 67-77.
- Thompson, I. (1987). Fundamental ethical principles in health care. British Medical Journal, 295, 1461-1465.