Unwritten Rules of Morality that Differ From Person to Person
Legal behaviors are following laws which are written, stated and expected to be followed by people of that region for legal purposes while ethics are unwritten morals rules which differ from person to person and even between cultures. Few of the behaviors which are considered illegal but are though as ethical such as jaywalking, cheating taxes and driving over the speed limit. Although most people don’t consider them as significantly as huge crimes or particularly immoral when compared to other offenses, even though they are not so significant crimes they are considers as crimes nonetheless in the eyes of the law. The acts which can be devoted can also don’t have any victim and may not be traceable to the person that dedicated them; however, they’ll be crimes. It is essential to understand that not all ethical things are crook, however it is also vital to recognize that not all immoral subjects are illegal. Let’s consider following example
A patient with HIV/AIDS refuses to tell his spouse of his condition. His physician feels morally bound to warn her but is directed by law to stringently safeguard confidentiality. A patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig disease), dying a slow, agonizing death, asks her physician to prescribe analgesics so that she may die with dignity. Her physician feels that complying would be compassionate and humane but knows that the law makes physician‐assisted suicide a crime, allowing comfort care for pain and other symptoms but punishing actions intended to hasten death. A physician calls the patient’s health plan to complain that its refusal to authorize a longer hospital stay will be harmful to the patient. The health plan remains steadfast, the patient is discharged and subsequently is readmitted for emergency surgery that results in loss of a limb.
Dilemmas such as these are not just tools of the classroom; they occur in the real world of the practicing physician. Not infrequently, physicians are called upon to examine both the ethical and legal dimensions of problems in patient care, and to ask: “It’s ethical, but is it legal?” or conversely, “It’s legal, but is it ethical?” Each question calls us to explore the common, and uncommon, ground between two disciplines that have been instrumental and closely intertwined in the emergence of biomedical ethics and health law (more generally bioethics) as critical components of contemporary medicine (Annas, 1993; Capron and Michel, 1993). In turn, each discipline has also earned an important foothold in the training of future physicians in undergraduate medical education.