The Family as the Primary Protector of the Vulnerable: Confucian versus Medical Ethics
Keywords:弱勢人群, 家庭, 儒學, 個人主義, 自由主義, 家庭共決, 維持生命治療, 預設醫療指示
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Individualism is still very much alive in “international” bioethics. Using two documents from the International Bioethics Committee as examples (Proposed Outline for a Report on Respect for Human Vulnerability and Personal Integrity, 2009; Report of the IBC on the Principle of Respect for Human Vulnerability and Personal Integrity, 2011), and focusing on hospital patients as a vulnerable group, this essay points out the pitfalls of individualistic bioethics. Confucianism advocates family co-determination rather than individual self-determination, and this model of decision making can serve as the first bulwark in protecting vulnerable patients. This model of medical decision making is not unique to Chinese culture, but is actually advocated by a small number of Western scholars. This essay also illustrates how family co-determination in medical decisions works using the example of two recent policies introduced in Hong Kong public hospitals, viz., forgoing life-sustaining treatment for the terminally ill and the use of advance directives.
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Copyright (c) 2013 International Journal of Chinese & Comparative Philosophy of Medicine
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