Debate Over Bioethics and Human Dignity

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Bioethics by definition is controversial It addresses a broad scope of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life to the right to refuse medical care. This discipline is concerned with the ethical questions that can arise in the relationships among medicine, politics, law, and personal philosophies. It also includes the study of the more commonplace questions which arise in primary care such as the ability to pay, and whether the injured or sick person should be treated. This paper will provide my viewpoints towards ‘Bioethics and Human Dignity’ and by using specific examples from the essay by Dr. Leon Kass and other sources this paper will also explain the distinction between basic and full human dignity.
In his essay “Defending Human Dignity”, Doctor Leon R. Kass former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005 (Philbrick, 2010), addresses two controversial topics one being ethics in the use of humans as research subjects and the other being the equal treatment of patients regardless of age, race, gender, condition of the person, stage of the illness or the patients ability to pay. Kass’s first concern in clinical medicine is that today’s physician will not treat all patients equally regardless of status and that this has always been a sacred duty that has dated back hundreds of years. In an article posted to the PBS Nova website in March 2001, Peter Tyson wrote:
“The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history” This oath holds physicians to a moral and ethical duty to put the patient’s quality of life above all else. “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife...

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...what, but so far the answer to the why has been left to lobbyists and politicians. I think we need to step back and ask these same questions in terms of basic human dignity. Start the question with “What If.”

Kass, Leon R. "PCBE: Human Dignity and Bioethics:Essays Commissioned by the President's Council on Bioethics (Chapter 12: Defending Human Dignity)." PCBE: Human Dignity and Bioethics:Essays Commissioned by the President's Council on Bioethics (Chapter 12: Defending Human Dignity). The President's Council on Bioethics, March 2008. Web. 21 March 2014.
Philbrick, Samuel. "The Embryo Project Encyclopedia." Leon Richard Kass. Arizona State University. School of Life Sciences. Center for Biology and Society. Embryo Project Encyclopedia., 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.
Tyson, Peter. "The Hippocratic Oath Today." PBS. 27 March 2001. Web. 19 March 2014.
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