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Patients' ethical obligation for their health.
  1. R C Sider,
  2. C D Clements


    In contemporary medical ethics health is rarely acknowledged to be an ethical obligation. This oversight is due to the preoccupation of most bioethicists with a rationalist, contract model for ethics in which moral obligation is limited to truth-telling and promise-keeping. Such an ethics is poorly suited to medicine because it fails to appreciate that medicine's basis as a moral enterprise is oriented towards health values. A naturalistic model for medical ethics is proposed which builds upon biological and medical values. This perspective clarifies ethical obligations to ourselves and to others for life and health. It provides a normative framework for the doctor-patient relationship within which to formulate medical advice and by which to evaluate patient choice.

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