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HCC-Coleman College: Medical Ethics Resources


"Medical Ethics" includes a wide variety of topics.  When searching the library catalog or PubMed, it's a good idea to use MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), the controlled vocabulary terms chosen by the National Library of Medicine. These include:

Abortion, Legal: Termination of pregnancy under conditions allowed under local laws.
Animal Right: The moral and ethical bases of the protection of animals from cruelty and abuse. The rights are extended to domestic animals, laboratory animals, and wild animals.
Contraception/Ethics: Discussion and analysis of contraception with respect to human and social values.
Ethics, Medical: The principles of professional conduct concerning the rights and duties of the physician, relations with patients and fellow practitioners, as well as actions of the physician in patient care and interpersonal relations with patient families.
Bioethics: A branch of applied ethics that studies the value implications of practices and developments in life sciences, medicine, and health care.
Confidentiality: The privacy of information and its protection against unauthorized disclosure.
Ethics, Clinical: The identification, analysis, and resolution of moral problems that arise in the care of patients.
Ethics, Research: The moral obligations governing the conduct of research.
Euthanasia: The act or practice of killing or allowing death from natural causes, for reasons of mercy, i.e., in order to release a person from incurable disease, intolerable suffering, or undignified death.
Genetic Privacy: The protection of genetic information about an individual, family, or population group, from unauthorized disclosure.
Health Care Reform: Innovation and improvement of the health care system by reappraisal, amendment of services, and removal of faults and abuses in providing and distributing health services to patients.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act/ethics:  Discussion and analysis of HIPPA with respect to human and social values.
Human Experimentation: The use of humans as investigational subjects.
Nursing ethics: The principles of proper professional conduct concerning the rights and duties of nurses themselves, their patients, and their fellow practitioners, as well as their actions in the care of patients and in relations with their families.
Patient Rights: Fundamental claims of patients, as expressed in statutes, declarations, or generally accepted moral principles.
Patient advocacy: Promotion and protection of the rights of patients, frequently through a legal process.
Pharmacists/ethics: Discussion and analysis of pharmacists with respect to human and social values.
Physician-Patient Relations: The interactions between physician and patient.
Privacy: The state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs.
Right to Die: The right of the patient or the patient's representative to make decisions with regard to the patient's dying.
Stem Cell Research: Experimentation on STEM CELLS and on the use of stem cells.
Suicide, Assisted: Provision (by a physician or other health professional, or by a family member or friend) of support and/or means that gives a patient the power to terminate his or her own life.

Medical Ethics Websites

American Medical Association (AMA Ethics Page) - Being one of the largest professional organizations in the medical field, the AMA houses its own ethics council and institute.

American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) - This organization thrives on interdisciplinary aspects of medical ethics and provides another angle to the ethics debates.

American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (ASLME) - A non-profit organization promoting education, protection, and promotion of good practice in ethics issues.

American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME) - Offers articles on a wide range of related ethics topics in their Current Issues section, a good start for introductions. Includes links to other ethics organizations.

MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics - The center, part of the University of Chicago Department of Medicine, provides a nice selection of links to resources around the country and the globe.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics - The Santa Clara University center features a long list of online articles by the institution's fellows on the topic of medical ethics.

National Library of Medicine's Medline Plus:  covers topics such as end of life care, abortion, genetic and prenatal testing, and organ donation.

Presidential Commission for the study of Bioethical Issues:  The government council charged with "advising the President on ethical issues related to advances in biomedical science and technology." Readers can browse transcripts of council meeting by topic.

UNESCO: Bioethics - The scientific arm of the United Nations has combined its resources in one place, with links to the advisory bodies, the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC).

University of Washington School of Medicine:  guidance on dealing with various scenarios in the medical setting.

HIPAA Websites

HIPAA: (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

HIPAA Privacy Rule: (U. S. National Institutes of Health)

Understanding Health Information Privacy: (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

HIPAA(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Text of HIPAA (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Medical Privacy news, national and state privacy information, and links to other resources. (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

Online Medical Ethics Books