Three Paradigms of Medical Ethics [Paternalism, Consumerism, Friendship]
A talk by Fr Robert Gahl, Associate Professor of Ethics, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
While new technologies can tend to separate health care professionals from their patients and their families, they can also facilitate a new paradigm that has begun to infuse many areas of the medical professions.
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the paradigm of paternalism reigned. Physicians were not to be questioned and patients were to mindlessly obey. With the advance of industrialization and the emphasis on individual rights, informed consent, and personal autonomy, a new paradigm arose: consumerism. The health care system was meant to offer an ever expanding smorgasbord and the patient could choose according to personal preference.
Now, there is growing awareness of the need to personalize health care and to emphasize the personhood of both patient and caregiver by means of the bond of benevolence between the two. The new paradigm of friendship offers challenges and opportunities for all to flourish while experiencing a more effective and more human approach to health care that is at once rooted in classical ethics and new discoveries in phenomenology such as narrative.
*This event is open to all Queen Mary and Barts students