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Clinical Experiments

(516 words)

Author(s): Wiesing, Urban
[German Version] Every medical treatment is basically an experiment, since the desired result cannot be guaranteed. In the strict sense, however, a clinical experiment is considered to be a treatment intended to advance scientific knowledge – either in isolation (human experiment) or in conjunction with a medical treatment (clinical trial). Because the risk in a human experiment or a clinical trial can never be eliminated, there is an urgent moral conflict betwee…

Hippocratic Oath

(757 words)

Author(s): Wiesing, Urban
[German Version] The so-called Hippocratic Oath is part of the Corpus Hippocraticum, the most important collection of medical writings of antiquity. The oath is wrongly ascribed: most likely it was not composed by Hippocrates himself. With the Hippocratic Oath physicians pledge to benefit their patients, to avoid doing harm, and to maintain secrecy. Voluntary euthanasia and certain kinds of abortion are also forbidden, as is sexual abuse of patients. The original Hippocratic Oath reads as follows (translation as given by the National Institutes of Health in the United States): “I sw…

Medical Ethics

(1,012 words)

Author(s): Marckmann, Georg | Wiesing, Urban
[German Version] I. Definition – II. History – III. Theories of Medical Ethics – IV. Problem Areas I. Definition Medical ethics is defined by its task and its area of concern. In the broad sense, medical ethics encompasses moral issues in the medical field, including relevant values, rules, norms, and institutions. Here, the problems are not only related to the individual doctor-patient relationship, as in traditional medical ethics, but also the health care system (Health care reform) and the evaluation of me…

Sickness and Healing

(3,297 words)

Author(s): Rütten, Thomas | Neu, Rainer | Ebner, Martin | Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph | Wiesing, Urban | Et al.
[German Version] I. Medicine Sickness and healing are basic phenomena of human life and core concepts of any anthropology. Nevertheless defining them and the relationship between them still raises problems, not least because each is a collective term. There is debate within medicine over whether sickness and healing can be neutral categories, purely descriptive and empirical, with their meaning determined by the evolutionary function of the body and its organs. Other positions, mindful of historical…