Nancy Berlinger, PhD, a researcher at the Hastings Center, said that issues related to the end of life will also become more important as the population ages. The entire decision-making process will be discussed, as well as the funding that pays for end-of-life care, as these issues affect more people. But that is the reward for the great advances in life expectancy that were achieved in the 20th century, he said. The Hastings Center published a revised and expanded version of its 1987 guidelines on decision-making and end-of-life care; it will include resources for providers who want to learn how to have better conversations with each other and with patients and their families.
You can't practice medicine, learn about medicine, or conduct medical research without paying attention to high ethical standards. The four fundamental principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and respect for human rights are the cornerstones of medical practice. The practice of medicine is not based on binary decisions in black and white. Every decision we make has potentially unintended consequences.
For example, in the Emergency Department, every decision to prioritize a patient involves a deprioritization of other patients in the emergency department. Especially in academic medicine, physician education inherently involves a certain degree of risk for the patient. This risk must be recognized and then minimized as far as possible. Thomas Percival first described medical ethics in 1803, with the first code of medical ethics in 1847. Electronic medical records (EHR) create a centralized and shareable record of a patient's entire medical history, automate the workflows of healthcare providers, and enable advanced medical evaluation tools.
These standards are included in the field of health or medical ethics, the field of applied ethics that deals with moral decision-making applied to medical practices and policies. When pandemics and other widespread medical emergencies exceed the capacity of medical centers, even cruder ethical issues arise.