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Suffering and Bioethics$
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Ronald M. Green and Nathan J. Palpant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.001.0001

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Individual and Social Callousness toward Human Suffering

Individual and Social Callousness toward Human Suffering

(p.157) 8 Individual and Social Callousness toward Human Suffering
Suffering and Bioethics

Daniel B. Hinshaw

Peter D. Jacobson

Marisa P. Weisel

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines human indifference and callousness toward human suffering, particularly within the healing professions and medical research. A number of factors that may help elucidate individual and societal indifference to suffering in the context of medical practice and research are explored. Also examined are the rationalizations actors have given for justifying their insensitivity. Although it seems unlikely that human institutions will ever eliminate the intentional or unintentional infliction of suffering or its rationalizations, the incidence and scope of suffering can certainly be reduced through law, professional ethics, or cultural norms. The authors strongly believe that changes in cultural norms, stimulated by the palliative care movement and improvements to the Belmont Report reforms, will lead to new ethical frameworks that will significantly reduce the insensitivity to human suffering.

Keywords:   suffering, palliative care, medical practice, medical research, Tuskegee, institutional review board, Belmont Report

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