|Module Title||MEDICINE, ETHICS AND LAW|
|Co-ordinator||Professor John Williams|
|Other staff||Professor John Williams|
|Pre-Requisite||LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710|
|Course delivery||Lecture||40 Hours Two one hour and one two hour lecture per week|
|Seminar||8 Hours Four two hour seminars during the semester|
|Assessment||Essay||Assessed Essay of 2000 words (required in week 5)||33%|
|Resit assessment||Resit: By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)|
|Professional Exemptions||Not Required for Professional Purposes|
Patients are today living longer, often due to advancements in medical science, yet this increased life expectancy may not always be considered a blessing. Should a patient be allowed to choose to die ? In what circumstances will the law protect the respective rights of a pregnant woman and her foetus ? A number of recent cases have highlighted the extent to which the medical profession is confronted with such issues.
Medicine is an imprecise science and calls for a clinical judgement. To what extent should society penalise doctors for their mistakes? An over-punitive legal regime can lead doctors to exercise too much caution and lead to defensive medicine. However, too lax a regime creates the impression that doctors are a law unto themselves.
Patients who are mentally incompetent will need particular care. They can neither agree to, nor refuse treatment. The court's power to intervene is ambiguous in the case of an adult and the next-of-kin can do no more than express an opinion. Case law declares that the doctor would not be acting unlawfully if he acts in his patients "best interests". Who should decide what is in their best interests?
It is estimated that one in six couples is infertile. There are many forms of treatment for infertility, each one posing very difficult ethical questions. Do people have a right to a child? Who should be eligible for treatment? To what extent should we be able to determine the sex of a child or his or her genetic composition?
The module will give recognition to the split between self regulation by the medical profession and the potential need for external regulation whether by law or other means. The difficulties raised in attempting to reconcile the ethical dilemmas of medical practice with the prescriptive approach of the law will be highlighted.
1. Analytical skills
2. Problem solving
3. Constructing argument
4. Synthesis (ethics, law and medicine)
5. Assessing and interpreting evidence and source material (interdisciplinary)
6. Organisation of ideas
7. Critical evaluation of complex and conflicting argument and evidence
8. Understanding relevance and irrelevance (especially with regard to making students aware that their gut reaction to issues is largely irrelevant).
As far as the subject/generic skills are concerned, we include them other than numerical.
Medical Records and Confidentiality
Provision of Healthcare in the NHS
Abortion and neonates