The Value Of Teaching Bioethics

781 WordsFeb 22, 20164 Pages
The value of teaching bioethics does not have a long history, as indicated by Siegler (2001,10), who places the onset in the 1970’s, with little data to indicate its success. Adam, Diekema, and Mercurio (2011, 8) , when referring to pediatric residents, cite: “45% of pediatric residents queried in a 2004 study rated their ethics education as fair to poor (Kesselheim et al).” From an individual perspective, Dr. Atul Gawande, in his book, Being Mortal (2014), drives home several important points as a 50-year-old practicing surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In his introduction, Gawande points to the weekly seminar he attended, “called Patient-Doctor—part of the school’s effort to make us more rounded and humane physicians”, indicating that, in his case, “the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise”. Furthermore, Gawande explains that his concept of medical school was about knowledge; of diagnosing, treatment, anatomy and physiology, and new technologies. Dr. Gawande, in dealing with mortality throughout his entire medical career, only truly learned the “bioethical” part of medicine when his own, beloved, father was dying. These are merely a few indicators of the historical dearth of the teaching of bioethics to clinicians, and leads us to the questions of whether there is a need for the teaching of bioethics, and, if there so, who should teach it and when should it be taught? There is a
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