In Beyond a Western Bioethics, physicians Angeles Tan Alora and Josephine M. Lumitao join eight other contributors to provide a comprehensive exploration of bioethical issues outside of the dominant American and western European model. Using the Philippines as a case study, they address how a developing country's economy, religion, and culture affect the bioethical landscape for doctors, patients, families, and the society as a whole.
American principles of medical ethics assume the primacy of individual autonomy, the importance of truth-telling, and secular standards of justice and morality. In the Philippines, these standards are often at odds with a culture in which family relationships take precedence over individualism, and ideas of community, friendship, and religion can deeply influence personal behavior. Pervasive poverty further complicates the equation. Contributors move from a general discussion of the moral vision informing health care decisions in the Philippines to an exploration of a wide range of specific cases: family planning, care of the elderly, organ transplants, death and dying, medical research, AIDS care, doctor-patient relationships, informed consent, and the allocation of scarce health-care resources.
Written for both students and professionals, the book provides a much-needed perspective on how medical ethics are practiced in a developing nation, and it successfully challenges the wisdom of global bioethical standards that do not account for local cultural and economic differences.