Physician’s Code of Ethics: Education of Dignity
Keywords:dignity, multifacetedness, disease, vocation of the physician, education
Education is a part of the educational process that forms a person’s ability to feel dignity in himself and in others. Such a skill is of particular importance to the healthcare professional, whose vocation requires sensitivity to the patient. In a state of disease, a person acutely experiences a “loss of dignity”. So, one of the tasks of a physician is to see the dignity of his patient, to recognize its regions that are injured, and to pay proper respect to the inviolable core of the dignity. The author of the article provides guidelines for such a distinction. She researches the types of dignity, identifies the most important of them, and demonstrates situations in medical practice in which this distinction is relevant.
The author understands dignity as a multifaceted phenomenon which corresponds to the inviolable value of the human person, virtue, the status of a moral subject. Such multifacetedness is reflected in attempts to typologize dignity. The article presents the concepts of distinguishing types of dignity proposed by L. R. Kass (basic dignity of human being and full dignity of being human), V. Kniazevich (ontological and existential aspects), A. Rodziński (dignity of personality, personal dignity and dignity of the person), D. P. Sulmasy (attributed, inflorescent and intrinsic dignity).
The disease, especially the serious one, is a test of dignity. The author, however, argues, that the basic layer of dignity remains inviolable even in states that do not correspond to the status of a rational being. It is claimed that the disease injures less significant layers of dignity. The physician’s vocation, therefore, is to recognize these injured aspects and to demonstrate to the patient the fact that his basic, intrinsic, ontological dignity cannot be lost under any circumstances. Educating future physicians to be able to distinguish between all aspects of dignity should be an important part of the educational process in medical schools.
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