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Introduction to Ethics in the Healthcare Setting

Unfortunately, the meaning of suffering in medical care remains extremely vague. Another problem is that even the best ethical education cannot ensure that medical professionals can successfully cope with the emerging ethical problems. The deontological and utilitarian are the most common ethical frameworks used in medicine. These frameworks may help to alleviate the burden of ethical dilemmas facing medical professionals today. To begin with, the two ethical dilemmas described in the attached sources include: (a) the ethics of suffering, and (b) the value of ethics education in health care. In terms of the former, Carnevale (2009) writes that the moral and epistemological examination of suffering presents serious difficulties. Professionals in health care have little or no understanding of what suffering is, how it works, whether it can be assessed by others, and what its moral significance is (Carnevale, 2009). In this paper, Carnevale (2009) makes a serious attempt to distinguish between suffering and pain: suffering is not the same as pain, and pain does not necessarily precede suffering. This analysis has far-reaching implications for the provision of medical and nursing care, since nurses and medical professionals must have an explicit vision of suffering, its meaning, measurability and potential. Can ethics education provide health care specialists with the knowledge they need regarding suffering? This is the other side of the argument. Here, Bardon (2004) claims that ethics education does not have any positive effects on the quality of ethical and moral decision making in health care environments. Again, this claim implies that ethics education is unnecessary and does not lead to any positive results. Even in ethics theory, the link between education and moral decision making appears to be too weak (Bardon, 2004). Back to the concept of suffering and its ethical side, it is clear that all patients have the moral right to obtain quality medical care and have their sufferings alleviated. This is the deontological aspect of ethical decision making that emphasizes the importance of rights and obligations. However, and according to Maricich and Giordano (2007), modern medicine has assumed a more disease-focal orientation, which […] has fostered a mechanical conceptualization of the body and imperatives of objectivity and speed (p.44). Human suffering has become increasingly measurable and tangible, leaving intangible aspects beyond medical care. While the entire system of medical care is inherently utilitarian-oriented, that is, intended to achieve the best health outcomes for the greatest number of

Introduction to Ethics in the Healthcare Setting