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Historical events in bioethics


Ethical discussions have been around for years. Chiang goes through significant events that shaped today’s bioethics.

Key points

Historical events:

  • The Hippocratic Oath

  • 1945 Nuremberg Trials

  • 1947 Nuremberg Code

  • 1948 Declaration of Geneva

  • 1964 Declaration of Helsinki

  • 1966 “Ethics and Clinical Research”, Henry Breecher.

  • 1972 Scandal of The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

  • 1974 The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research

  • 1979 Belmont Report

  • 1979 “The Principles of Biomedical Ethics” (Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress)

  • 1981 Declaration of Lisbon

The Hippocratic Oath states that:

  • Practicing medicine to the best of one’s ability

  • Sharing knowledge with other physicians

  • Employing sympathy

  • Compassion and understanding

  • Respecting the privacy of patients

  • Helping to prevent disease whenever possible

  • These principles are still relevant today.

In the 1945 Nuremberg trials, Nazis military general and military officials were accused of implementing unethical human experimental.

This gave birth to the 1947 Nuremberg Code, which states that for all human experiments:

  • Voluntary consent is essential

  • It must be for the greater good of society

  • Study should be based on previous animal experiment

  • Should avoid physical or mental suffering and injury of subjects

  • No experiment should be conducted if there is chances of death or disability

  • Risk should never exceed the benefits

  • Adequate facilities to protect the subjects.

  • Conducted only by qualified scientists

  • Subjects have the right to quit the experiment at any time

  • Scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment when injury, disability, or death is likely to occur

Share and learn

Are there significant invents in your country that changed the way people view bioethics.

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