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an occupation that involves specialized and prolonged academic training and that is aimed at providing a particular service to paying clients. Professions typically have formal certifications and governing bodies.
an activity that involves both the distribution of a commodity and the fair allocation of a social good but that is uniquely defined according to moral relationships (from Wynia et al.). To profess, from the Latin pro (forth) andfateri (acknowledge, confess) is to make a public declaration.
a person's capacity for self-rule, free from controlling interference by others. From the Greek auto (self) andnomos (law).
when a doctor acts like a father (pater) for the welfare of the patient, often ignoring or interfering with patient autonomy.
'The ability to perform a task' (Beauchamp and Childress). NB: Some bioethicists distinguish competence from capacity, but Beauchamp and Childress use the terms interchangeably.
Informed Consent
One gives an informed consent to an intervention if one is competent to act, receives a thorough disclosure, comprehends the disclosure, acts voluntarily, and consents to the intervention' (Beauchamp and Childress).
the transfer of information from medical professional to patient; professionals are obligated to disclose a core set of information that will allow the patient to make informed and autonomous decisions.
Surrogate Decision Maker
someone authorized to make medical decisions for nonautonomous or doubtfully autonomous patients.
keeping a patient's information secret and ensuring that only those who are authorized have access to this information.
the condition of being left alone, hidden from others, and in control of information that is known about you.
Privileged Communications
verbal and written communications between a physician and patient; these communications are protected from forced disclosure in a court of law because they were made within a protected relationship.
the quality of being faithful or loyal.
Fiduciary Relationship
a relationship of trust and confidence in which one party, the fiduciary, has heightened responsibilities toward the other.
Dual Loyalties
situations in which physicians are asked to fulfill a social duty that seems to conflict with the basic moral commitments of medicine. Examples include physicians working with the armed forces (e.g., in interrogations of suspected terrorists), physicians working in prisons (as participants in state executions), and physicians working for companies (evaluating worker's compensation claims).
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