The 5 types of ethical framework in Gynecology

Obstetrics and Gynecology is the medical specialty that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and disorders of the reproductive system. The speciality includes preventative care, prenatal care and the accurate detection of sexually transmitted diseases. Obstetrics and Gynecology specialists are also trained to conduct pap test screening at medical laboratories and family planning. They are adept at providing care for the female reproductive organs and management of pregnancy.

On the educational front an obstetrician /gynaecologist is a physician who has successfully completed education and training in the management of pregnancy, labor and the time period following childbirth. Most physicians vary in terms of their familiarity with ethical theories and methods or their sensitivity towards ethical issues pertaining to healthcare. Often patients prefer Obstetrician–Gynecologists who are familiar with the concepts of medical ethics.

Why is ethics integral to gynecology:

Ethics has played an important role in the history of medicine, manifesting during the time of Hippocrates about 2,500 years ago. With the burgeoning trends in medical technology, gynecology is one department that has faced complex ethical questions regarding assisted reproductive technologies, use of genetic information and prenatal diagnosis to list a few. There are 5 types of ethical frameworks and perspectives and they are explored as follows:

Principle-Based Ethics

In recent times medical ethics is dominated by principle-based ethics where 4 main principles offer systematic ways to identify, analyse, and address ethical issues, problems, and dilemmas.
The four principles are:
•    Respect for patient autonomy
•    Beneficence
•    Non-maleficence
•    Justice.

Virtue Ethics

Virtue ethics is a value based approach that relies on qualities of character. It encourages health professionals to make choices for the overall well-being of patients and respect their autonomous choices. The qualities may include prudence, trustworthiness, fairness, fortitude, integrity, self-effacement, and compassion. It is however interesting to note that virtues may not replace principles and some virtues correlate with principles and allow people to act based on those principles.

Care-Based Ethics

Care-based ethics include the dimensions of moral experience which most often remain excluded from the age-old ethical theories.  Care-based ethics is concerned with responsibilities that arise from attachment to individuals. This perspective lays emphasis on context and less importance to principles and rules.

Feminist Ethics

As the name suggests feminist ethics employs tools of feminist theory to study ethical issues in 3 distinctive ways.
•    It indicates the impact of the conception of sex and how it distorts people`s view on the world specifically gendered conceptions.  The theory showcases how the human society is male cantered.
•    Often feminist thinkers have argued that empathy is vital to moral reasoning in ethical conduct of medical care.
•    Besides, the theory lays emphasis and redresses the ways in which the gendered concepts have highlighted restraints on women.

Case-Based Reasoning

Case based reasoning is the final approach and it is equivalent to the role of case law in jurisprudence. It is similar in that the cases and their interpretation provides moral guidance. It gives more importance to the good practise over ethical theory and moral principles.

Thus we infer that medical ethics is a system of moral principles. It adds values and judgments to the practise of medicine and as a scholarly discipline medical ethics incorporates the practical application in clinical settings. It may add and work on the history, philosophy, and sociology aspects too.

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The world of medical care is evolving at a never before pace. However, there may be contradicting opinions based on the justification of the ethical procedures and its impact on different specializations in medical science. It is important to note that the ethics were added in the first place to ensure that medical practises are carried out smoothly and that the human populace is emphasized with, in times of crisis and also to foster fair decision making skills based on set principles. Ethics has been crucial and will continue its reign as an integral part of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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