Eubios Ethics Institute | Book List | TOP - Asian Bioethics in the 21st Century

Discussion on Asian Medical Ethics

Ng: Our first speaker in the session on Asian medical ethics is Prof. Manickavel from Nepal. Are there any questions?

Daniels: Thanks very much, first of all, for a very interesting and helpful paper. I have been increasingly thinking about the way in which the technological developments, particularly in relation to assisted reproduction, are actually dependent on culture and of course the family of that culture. It is almost as if these developments are driving cultural change and yet we have no idea where those changes are hidden and or what seems to be occurring. I wonder if you might like to comment on that observation.

Manickavel: I think that you're right. And that the culture is based on the family, so whatever affect there is on the family, it will also affect culture.

Yoon: Our next speaker is Prof. Noritoshi Tanida. We have time for one question?

Leavitt: I'm a little bit confused about your table in your paper, because you talked about voluntary and non-voluntary; but then at the bottom you only refer to approval of the family and I don't see any mention of approval by the patient. So my question is in your figures here, if you have approval by the family, of a comatose patient who is not in the position to approve or disapprove, would you call this voluntary or not?

Tanida: It's only voluntary only if the patient requests it.

Ng: The next speaker is Dr. Kang Shinik from Korea. We have time for one question.

Shinagawa: Medical ethics should be classified into two categories. One is doctor-patient relationship. The other is doctor or physician - patient ethics. As far as I understand, when discussing about medical ethics, it is important to take into consideration cultural context. For example, you mentioned about the United States. I think if you look at the range of the spectrum from the U.S to Canada, there are many different kinds of medical ethics. We need to example the system in each country.

Kang: Yes. I think bioethicists tend to ignore the history of medicine. In the history of medicine there are many different types of medical tradition. This must be considered. What I wanted to stress in this presentation was that we, Koreans, have to make our own professional ethics, which is different from other countries.

Yoon: The next speaker is Dr. Li Zhonglin. We thank Dr. Yanguang Wang for translating, and there is time for some questions.

Hwang Sang-Ik: What is a socialist market economy?

Li Zhonglin (translated by Wang): The Chinese system is trying to make a market now. It is Chinese style-market economy.

Hwang Sang-Ik: Is China making a hybrid between market and socialism? The capitalist market is difficult.

Wang: If you want to make the concept clear it is best to check in the newspaper about the economic system.

Bhardwaj: My question is related to the previous question. For access to market economy, you have a central accreditation system. Do you also have a central accreditation system to assess the ethical aspects of this?

Wang: We have one under the Ministry of Health also one under the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. The focus is to try to study many ethical issues and hold many conferences on these things.

Doering: You mentioned that China has to build a suitable theory for medical ethics. I think we all agree with that. And I think many countries need that, but who's responsible for doing that? Do you have something in mind like the previous speaker, discourse or something like that? And to what standards of criteria do you think this theory should be built?

Wang: Prof. Li and many scholars have held many conferences. There are some projects in Shanghai and Beijing now to address these.

Ng: Our next speaker is Dr. Pinit Ratanakul. Are there any questions?

Yu: How common is the practice you describe? How many temples have been opened to house the AIDS patients? The second question is what is the reaction of the Buddhist community at large to this practice of some Buddhist monks?

Ratanakul: At present, there are about 20 temples that are operated as hospices for sick patients. Before the monks started treating these patients without any medical knowledge or protection like gloves, just compassion. The general public was afraid of contamination. But the monk's example has changed the images. Luckily, no monk has been infected. From this example, the public has become more sympathetic to the plight of these patients. People have now donated more for these temples. But still there are very few who would volunteer to help the patients directly.

Zawawi: I would like to ask about the extent of assistance that the Thai government towards HIV infected patients. Does the government assist these temples?

Ratanakul: At first the government didn't want to deal with this issue. But the story of the monks was highly publicized in media to the point that there were daily accounts about it. Then the government decided to allocate large amounts of funds to the temples. Even the King became concerned about this problem. About 3-4 medical schools have also sent doctors and nurses to assist in these temples. The government has given these medical schools more adequate funding for this project. So our government has actually become better because of this action by the monks. The duty of the government was awoken by the monk's action.

Ng: Thank you for a most interesting session.

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Eubios Ethics Institute | Book List | TOP - Asian Bioethics in the 21st Century