Ethical Principles in Healthcare
In order to analyze the ethical issue with the brain death, I would apply the Kant’s imperative as the deontological ethical theory. According to this theory, a person should behave in such a way that his act will become a universal law. Thus, in similar situation other person should behave correspondingly (Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett & Garrett, 2013). Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett and Garrett (2013) cite Kant’s categorical imperative: “act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end” (Kant, 1984, p. 36).
I reckon that brain death is a state when a person should be declared as dead despite any efforts to support his breath and blood circulation. It should become a universal law for all healthcare entities. My opinion is supported by Streba, Damian and Ioan (2012) stating that there is no ethical dilemma for the brain death: a person is dead and any procedures to artificially continue his life should be stopped. Some opponents may argue that brain death issue becomes the ethical issue when dealing with organ donation. Therefore, the question of death (its definite time) and life can be manipulated. However, there is clear evidence for defining that a person is brain dead and this issue cannot be falsified (Streba, Damian & Ioan, 2012). As to apply Kantian perspective on ethical decision making then this situation should be dictated by the duty to respect the dignity of a person, his right to autonomy.
According to Page (2012) nonmaleficence principle prevails over the other ethical principles in medical sphere. This principle was firstly proclaimed by Hippocrates. The obligation "to refrain from causing any harm" has become, since the time of Hippocrates, not only the main moral principle of medical activity, but also the moral basis for the model of interaction of medical workers with patients, their relatives, their colleagues and teachers. The Hippocratic Oath reflects all the areas of the medical work in which a medical professional must follow the principle of "do no harm": physical (correct treatment, choose the treatment method that will bring the least harmful side effect, not accelerate death), socio-psychological and legal (non-disclosure of medical secrets), moral (respect and gratitude to patients and colleagues).
At the same time, it is necessary to state that the principle of autonomy has been getting increasing importance and weight. According to Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett and Garrett (2013) the principles of autonomy implies that a medical professional should not provide any treatment to the patient until he receives patient’s informed consent or his lawful surrogate consent. Page (2012) underlines that “respect for autonomy should be of primary importance in medical ethics and applied ethics in general.” As Page (2012) writes the principle of beneficence is the least applicable to the ethical decision-making because it is frequently considered as the part of overall process of maximizing benefits for the patients.
In order to act …