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Critical reflections on the principle of beneficence in biomedicine

M Mawere


Medical ethics as a scholarly discipline and a system of moral principles that apply values and judgments to the practice of medicine encompasses its practical application in clinical settings as well as work on its history, philosophy, theology, anthropology and sociology. As such there are a number of values in medical ethics such as autonomy, non-maleficence, confidentiality, dignity, honesty, justice and beneficence, among others. These values act as guidelines for professionals in the medical fraternity and are therefore used to judge different cases in the fraternity. For purposes of this work, this paper examines the principle of beneficence in biomedicine. Using both hypothetical cases and others in real life situations, the paper reflects on the implications of beneficence in biomedicine. It argues that the principle of beneficence is a prima facie obligation that should “always be acted upon unless it conflicts on a particular occasion with an equal or stronger principle.”

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eISSN: 1937-8688