Proposal for Integration of Bioethics in Phase I Undergraduate Medical Curriculum in India

Proposal for Integration of Bioethics in Phase I Undergraduate Medical Curriculum in India

Chetana P. Hadimani (Department of Biochemistry, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum, Karnataka, India)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2013100102
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Abstract

Bioethics is now regarded as an integral part of contemporary medical education across the world. This proposal of integration of Bioethics in phase one undergraduate medical curriculum is, to bridge the gap between classroom learning, bedside application and further in community practice to give better health care and a good harmony between Doctors and Society. This aims in covering the curricular approaches in order to enforce values of bioethical principles in medical practice.
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Introduction

Bioethics is now regarded as an integral part of contemporary medical education across the world. Well defined strategies have been developed and are in place for Undergraduate as well as postgraduate bioethics education (Chen, 2003). Bioethics word is coined by a biochemist, Van rensselaer potter, in 1970 in an endeavor to draw attention to the fact that the rapid advances in science had proceeded without due attention being paid to values. For some time the word referred to the attempt to link scientific facts and values in the area of environmental concerns and there after a growing number of Western Medical Institutions have included this subject in medical curricula (Trosko, 2003). In 2003, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the United States of America identified the teaching of medical ethics as a core curriculum components of modern medical school education (LCME Secretariat, 2003).

In our institution KLE University, J. N. Medical College, Belgaum, India, we are following traditional teaching method for medical education. In the existing medical education, the Medical Council of India (MCI) curriculum does not have “Medical ethics” as a separate subject in any of its courses (Medical Council of India; 1997). In this curriculum of phase II, Forensic Medicine, the students learn about the principles of medical ethics, mainly the legal aspects in brief and it is taught in four to five hours.

In the past and till today, medical students learn about ethical behavior and good patient manners from their teachers and seniors. It is assumed that the teachers and seniors set good examples. In the past, the relationship between the doctor and the patient was paternalistic. Today, this relationship has changed. Advancement of medical science and technology has made a tremendous impact on the medical practice. Rising cost of medical care and scarce resources poses dilemmas to the practitioner of medicine (Ravindran, 1997).

According to Pandya S K (2006) laments that today, “Unfortunately the number of role models in the medical colleges is diminishing as unethical practices flourish and this adds to the frustration of students for they see a divergence between what is preached and what is practiced”.

A lack of structured curriculum in bioethics and awareness of basic ethical principles and obligations results in coercion, forced decision making, lack of confidentiality, respect for the person and informed consent that leads to malpractices and hampers the routine of the hospital (Wajahat, 2008).

As the mere existence of the Hippocratic Oath attests, ethical challenges are inherent in Medical practice and research (Emanuel, 2001).

By 1990 medical ethics had become an integral part of the core curriculum in most American Medical Schools (Fox, 1995). Ethics now has an established place within the medical curriculum throughout the European Union (Frederique, 2007).

In an international survey conducted on medical ethics curricula in Asia showed a total of 89 medical schools out of 100 reported offering some courses in which ethical topics were taught and they found diversity in integration of the programmes in contents or goals of medical ethics teachings (Miyasaka, 1999).

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