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in philosophy, a branch of ethicsethics,
in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a particular society
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 concerned with issues surrounding health care and the biological sciences. These issues include the morality of abortionabortion,
expulsion of the products of conception before the embryo or fetus is viable. Any interruption of human pregnancy prior to the 28th week is known as abortion. The term spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is used to signify delivery of a nonviable embryo or fetus due
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, euthanasiaeuthanasia
, either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. The term comes from the Greek expression for "good death.
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, in vitro fertilizationin vitro fertilization
(IVF), technique for conception of a human embryo outside the mother's body. Several ova, or eggs, are removed from the mother's body and placed in special laboratory culture dishes (Petri dishes); sperm from the father are then added, or in many cases a
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, and organ transplants (see transplantation, medicaltransplantation, medical,
surgical procedure by which a tissue or organ is removed and replaced by a corresponding part, usually from another part of the body or from another individual.
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). In the 1970s bioethics emerged as a discipline with its own experts, often professional philosophers, who developed university courses on the subject. Many hospitals now employ experts on bioethics to advise on such issues as how to treat terminally ill patients and to allocate limited resources. Advances in health care, the development of genetic testinggenetic testing,
medical screening for genetic disorders, by examining either a person's DNA directly or a person's biochemistry or chromosomes for indirect evidence. Testing may be done to identify a genetic disorder a person has, whether the disorder is already evident or not,
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 and screening, and the new research in genetic engineeringgenetic engineering,
the use of various methods to manipulate the DNA (genetic material) of cells to change hereditary traits or produce biological products. The techniques include the use of hybridomas (hybrids of rapidly multiplying cancer cells and of cells that make a
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, including gene therapygene therapy,
the use of genes and the techniques of genetic engineering in the treatment of a genetic disorder or chronic disease. There are many techniques of gene therapy, all of them still in experimental stages.
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, have also given rise to questions in bioethics.


See W. T. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics (4 vol., 1978); H. T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Bioethics (1986); R. Macklin, Mortal Choices: Bioethics in Today's World (1987).


A discipline concerned with the application of ethics to biological problems, especially in the field of medicine.
References in periodicals archive ?
Broader and deeper education for bioethicists is obviously needed.
The latest example was just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by bioethicist Zoe Fritz:
But another bioethicist, Thomas Murray, condemned the performance-enhancing arms race in his interview with Nature: "I could probably do a four-mile climb much better with EPO," he says, "but I could also do it much better if I put a motor on my bike.
It may not apply to pseudo professionals such as 'IT professionals' or 'real estate professionals' or, for that matter, professional bioethicists or clinical ethics consultants.
That bioethicists had written hundreds of thousands of pages on "autonomy" without writing one article about its relation to subcontracting seemed, by the end of class, an indication that the field had misunderstood its own premises.
Are bioethicists excessively beholden to the institutions that they serve?
I'll do so in the context of asking readers to consider two very similar case scenarios from clinical bioethics that were developed by a bioethicist from the United Kingdom, Raanan Gillon.
Theological bioethicists have at their disposal the parables, narratives, metaphors, images, words, concepts and emotions to gather together a wide variety of truly compassionate collaborators who share their concerns about social justice.
Immediately after the appointments were announced last March, more than 200 of the country's leading bioethicists signed an open letter to the President expressing concern that the credibility of the council had been "severely compromised.
In the commentary section of the September 1, 2004, Chicago Tribune, three bioethicists describe the mostly egalitarian nature of the U.
Freiden, commissioner, New York City Department of Health; Matthew Wynia, director of the Institute of Ethics of the American Medical Association; Kenyan bioethicist Angela Wassuna, associate for International Affairs of the Hastings Center; and 19 other bioethicists and health professionals.