Importance of Our Mission
In modern medicine, science and biotechnology, the concepts of Do No Harm, Responsible Stewardship, Fairness, Benefit and even right and wrong are often neither simple nor readily apparent. Bioethics guides the decisions, judgments and allocations that advance the health and lives of society, the individual and the environment in the most beneficial and responsible manner. It further serves as a platform to address and prepare for issues not yet configured by medicine, science, the public health industry and private sector development.
As medicine and technology advance, they provide the clinician, executive, scientist and policy-maker with increasing modalities of treating, curing and researching, the choice of which clearly impact the survival of patients and scientific and economic advancement.
Key Ethics Facts
- FACT 66 years ago Penicillin was invented. Today’s medical landscape includes ventilators, feeding-tubes, organ donations, a decoded genome, etc. The concept of ‘do no harm’ is no longer simple nor readily apparent. Technical progress must be matched with corresponding progress in ethics education, to advance medicine and science beneficially.
- FACT Healthcare resources are in greater demand and consuming more government and private income than ever before. Pressure to control costs and access to resources exacerbates ethical issues and sparks questions of who gets what service, when and under what conditions. The absence of ethics training is a critical factor stunting equitable access to healthcare and technological developments, daily and during disasters.
- FACT 20 AMA delegates stated that they need ethical guidance on triage and other matters in catastrophic situations, following the Hurricane Katrina and Indian Ocean tsunami disasters. .
- FACT 42% of hospital staff say they will not report to work, in the event of a flu pandemic. Additionally, the US will need 742,500 ventilators. Currently, there are 105,000 ventilators with 100,000 of those are in use during a regular flu season. An ethical framework is needed to guide resource allocations and decisions, and to encourage hospital staff to care for their fellow sick and suffering members of humanity in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophic event.
- FACT After Hurricane Katrina, a doctor and two nurses faced 9 counts of 2nd-degree murder. Ethics education is critical to decreasing the risk of ethics violations that potentially harm patients and expose healthcare providers and organizations to legal liability and reputational damage.
- FACT The Joint Commission has 24 ethics related standards (RI.1–RI.3.1) necessary for organizational accreditation. A high-quality results-driven ethics program is essential to ensuring that an organization meets or exceeds those standards.
Top 10 Benefits
- Decreased risk of ethics violations by professionals and institutions that harm patients and expose professionals and organizations to legal liability and damaged reputations1
- More informed, effective and responsible professionals and institutions with practical guidelines and frameworks for making ethical decisions
- Improved quality of patient care and public safety and health
- Strengthened trust between the public and the healthcare, life science and biotechnology sectors
- Increased equitable access to medical, scientific and technological developments
- Greater protection of human vulnerabilities and of individuals and groups of special vulnerability
- Greater understanding and promotion of human dignity
- Responsible conservation of national healthcare resources and costs
- Better safeguarding and promotion of the interests of the present and future generations, of solidarity and of social-cohesion
- Increased dialogue and understanding between all stakeholders and within society of actual, potential and emerging ethical issues in practice, daily, during disasters and regarding the environment
1 Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Summary Report of Combined Assessment Program Reviews at the Veterans Health Administration Medical Facilities, April 2001 Through September 2002. Report No. 02-018211-28.