As health care reform comes to the United States, and wars, tsunamis, and earthquakes ripple across the world, the connection of our global community has never been more obvious. Growing globalization and increased air and space travel have removed international borders and brought humanity closer. Additionally, globalization has expanded the push for global health and provided numerous opportunities for the global community to impact the lives and health of people across the globe. According to Koplan, Bond, Merson, Reddy, Rodriquez, Sewakambo & Wasserheit (2009) global health can be described as a notion, objective or a practice that strives to maintain the health of the global community. As the issue of global health becomes more popular, the concept of global ethics has taken front stage, fueling the international dialogue on biomedical ethics in general and the principles of utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue-based ethics in particular.
Global ethics aims to establish a set of moral and ethical belief systems at the global level. In considering the principles of utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue-based ethics, one wonders how these concepts are connected to clinical ethics and what role they might play in shaping the views of this expatriate writer. The University of Birmingham (2010) posits that global ethics deals with the moral questions that arise from globalization.
Global ethics tries to take an honest look at pressing global issues such as disparities of wealth, health, longevity, security, and freedom and suggests that individually each human being might have a moral obligation to help each other. Global ethics further questions the issues of fairness and the human obligation to treat others as one would like to be treated. Yet, Struhl (2009) maintains that gaining a universal concept of global ethics will be difficult.
However, before discussing utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue-based ethics, it seems critical to provide some background on ethics in general and clinical ethics in particular. Ethics is not static and can be described as the study of human behavior (Ward, 2009). According to Resnick (2010), ethics can be defined as a “method, procedure, or perspective for deciding how to act and for analyzing complex problems and issues” (para. 3) . Resnick suggested that most people learn ethical norms at home, at school, in church, or in other social settings. This author postulated that many people acquire their sense of right and wrong during childhood, but that moral development occurs throughout the lifecycle. This writer agrees with all these comments, but did not acknowledge this notion until she first considered this assignment.
Clinical ethics is defined as a practical discipline that offers a framework for identifying, analyzing, and resolving ethical issues in clinical medicine (Jonsen, Siegler, & Winslade, (2006). Beauchamp & Childress (2001) suggested that there are four basic...