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Medical Law and Ethics

Medical Law and Ethics (8th edn)

Jonathan Herring
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date: 29 May 2023

p. 11. Ethics and Medical Lawlocked

p. 11. Ethics and Medical Lawlocked

  • Jonathan HerringJonathan HerringProfessor of Law, Exeter College, University of Oxford


This chapter discusses various aspects of ethics and medical law. It begins with a definition of medical law. It then covers the nature of illness, the scope of medicine, the sociological impact of being ill, UK health statistics, and general ethical principles. This is followed by discussions of the notion of rights; patients’ obligations; principlism; hermeneutics; casuistry; feminist medical ethics; care ethics; virtue ethics; and communitarian ethics. It also explains the role of theology, relativism, and pragmatism in medical ethics. The chapter also explores the links between ethics and law. It cannot be assumed that because something is unethical it must be unlawful, nor that everything unlawful is necessarily unethical.

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