PHI 475 Biomedical Ethics


The four fundamental principles of ethical delivery of healthcare are Autonomy and Justice, Beneficence, nonmaleficence, and Beneficence.

Is this referring to the patient or the caregiver?

What happens when there’s conflict? Who trumps whom and how can it be resolved?


These four principles of biomedical ethic guide medical practitioners in making decisions about ethical dilemmas involving patient’s care.

Let’s say a family asks a nurse to keep the patient’s poor prognosis due to an incurable illness from him.

The principle of autonomy gives the patient the right to control his body.

A doctor can only suggest him, but cannot persuade or force him to act as the principle is infringed.

Beneficience is the act of treating a patient in such a way as to make them feel better in every situation.

The principle of non-maleficence, on the other hand, explains that the patient is not to be hurt or caused any harm.

They often work together, but there are times when they can conflict.

These situations are where medical professionals hide information regarding the poor prognosis in order to protect the patient from mental trauma.

This is against the principle autonomy that allows the patient to make his own decision.

Accidentally discovering the truth can lead to mental trauma, which could prove more fatal than the disease.

Let’s conclude by saying that this situation cannot be described as a single principle.

These ethical principles can help medical professionals make the right decision by analysing the situation in order to achieve maximum beneficence.

Measuring Four Principles of Beauchamp & Childress.

The Four Principles: Can they be measured? Do they predict ethical decision making?

BMC Med Ethics.