Medical Ethics From A View Point Of A Moslem M.D

By

Prof Ibrahim El-Arabi, MD Professor of Pediatrics,

Faculty of Medicine.

Misr University for Science and Technology


Ethics are areas of philosophy concerned with human values which studies the meaning of moral terms and theories of conduct and goodness. It is also called moral philosophy. By essence medical ethic is just one of the main branches of contemporary philosophy which concerns the provision of guide lines for doctors1.  Nevertheless, though specific, parts are not much different from the whole as much as  fruits coming from same roots. And the roots here are character ethics.


Character ethic is based on a fundamental idea that there are principles that governs human effectiveness. These are natural in the human dimension and are just as real, just, as unchanging and unarguably there. They are natural laws that are woven into the fabric of every society throughout history and comprise the roots of every individual, every family and institution that has endured and prospered. And whatever attitude one has for these it does not alter their existence and neither can they be broken. Cecil B. de Mille observed of the principles contained in his movie, the Ten Commandments 'it is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law. The reality of such principles or natural laws becomes obvious to any one who thinks deeply and examines the cycle of social history. These principles surface time and again. And the degree to which people in a society recognize and live in harmony with them moves them towards either survival and stability or disintegration and destruction.  The following are examples just to name a few:

· the principle of 'fairness' out of which our whole concept of equity and justice is developed. Little children seem to have an innate sense of the idea of fairness even apart from opposite conditioning experience. There is vast difference in how fairness is defined and achieved but there is almost universal awareness of the idea.

· Integrity and honesty: they create the foundation of trust, which is essential to cooperation and long term personal and interpersonal growth.

· Human dignity, all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

· Service, or the idea of making a contribution.

· Quality of excellence.

· Potential, we are embryonic and can grow and develop and release more and more potential, develop more and more talents. Highly related to potential is the principle of growth, the process of releasing of potential and developing talents with the accompanying need for principles such as patience, nurturance and encouragement.     


One need not emphasize that these principles of character ethics are not esoteric, mysterious or 'religious' ideas but rather universal. Not any one is unique to any specific faith or religion. It is part of most every major enduring religion, as well as every enduring social philosophies and ethical systems. You find them in Divine revelations to Moses, the Christ and Mohammed and in non-divine books as in Buda's and in some modern move

Al-Mahdi Institute

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