pp. 361 in Bioethics in Asia

Editors: Norio Fujiki and Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D.
Eubios Ethics Institute

Copyright 2000, Eubios Ethics Institute All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with the author.

P9. Bioethics in Thailand

Pitak Chaichareon and Pinit Ratanakul.

Mahidol University, Thailand

Bioethical activities are concentrated at Mahidol University, established in 1886, with 3 medical faculties and 2 nursing schools. Its impetus is the replacement of traditional medicine by Western (modern) medicine, which leads to.. separation of medicine from morality; predominance of hospital-oriented medicine, research and specialized training over primary health care and communal health services; The rise of the cult of individualism and free market ideology which values wealth over persons and human needs; Emergence of new moral problems e.g. euthanasia, reproductive intervention, human experimentation.

Bioethical activities consist of: teaching bioethics to medical and nursing students to encourage ethical reflection on moral issues in modern medicine; Publicizing bioethical issues to raise public and professional awareness of these issues; Encouraging the application of moral insights and principles in Thai culture underunderlaid by Buddhism to the solutions of bioethical problems. Buddhist Ethical Principles include:

Veracity: Truth-telling is one's social and moral duty. No exception for lying in any circumstance.

Non-Injury To Life: All human lives are precious regardless of their stages of development and/or condition. IVF techniques, abortion, suicide and active euthanasia are unacceptable. Passive euthanasia is an ethical challenge.

Interdependence (Conditionality): Individual autonomy is limited by duties and obligations arisen from interdependent relationships.

Compassion: Doing all in one's power to enhance the well-being of others, to benefit them, to increase the values of their lives. Not doing further harm (increase suffering) to them. Self-sacrifice

Conjoined with justice: Recognizing others as moral equals, in giving and claiming for each other what is due as a fellow human being. Fairness or proportionate treatment.

Conjoined with knowledge: Allowing the hopelessly ill patient to meet the end naturally. Giving care, comfort and companion to the dying.

Important bioethical issues include: Lack of creative coordination of traditional medicine, Buddhist compassion and modern medicine and thus the inability to provide the most relevant and most effective health care. Need to foster greater conscientiousness and integrity in the practice of medicine. Fair distribution of scarce medical resources, the Imbalance of resource allocation between the urban and the rural sectors. The abuse of the poor and violation of their human rights in human experimentation. Boundaries of intervention in reproduction. Prevention of possible harm to the individual, the family and society. Humane and holistic care in AIDS, and confidentiality of testing and test results. Issues in gray areas include abortion for rape, incest, severely defective and/or HIV positive fetuses; and euthanasia for a patient in a persistent vegetative state, organ transplantation, and seriously defective infants.

Please send comments to Email < asianbioethics@yahoo.co.nz >.

To contents page
To Japanese version
To Eubios book list
To Eubios Ethics Institute home page