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Is there a global bioethics? End-of-life in Thailand and the case for local difference.

Stonington S, Ratanakul P - PLoS Med. (2006)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America. scott.stonington@ucsf.edu

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Gaew's physician, Dr. Nok, informs Gaew's brother, Lek, that Gaew has little chance of recovery due to his lack of brain activity... Lek does not know what to do—he wants to give his brother the best care possible, but he knows his brother is suffering... In Buddhist terms, Dr. Nok's own karma is at stake... Karma is a moral law, central to lay Thai Buddhism, which describes chains of cause and effect that result from individual behavior... None of these fundamental principles of Western bioethics—autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, truth-telling, or justice—sufficiently explain Lek and Dr. Nok's dilemma... Dr. Nok's solution to Gaew's end-of-life is instructive as an introduction to what a Thai bioethics might look like... Dr. Nok and Lek cannot remove Gaew's ventilator, and yet their compassion and duty demand that they relieve his suffering... They circumvent this dilemma by helping Gaew to let go of his life peacefully... This strategy has a positive effect on the karmic fate of everyone involved... Dr. Nok's solution to Gaew's end-of-life is not just for Gaew, it is also for herself and for Lek... In the West, the main purpose of a country-wide policy is to resolve conflicts between individuals over medical decisions... However, because the concept of interdependence is so central for most Thais, Thailand's bioethical policies may differ dramatically from those found in the West... Thailand is just beginning the long process of integrating its multitude of local voices and concepts into nationwide ethical standards... This new Thai ethics promises to be much more effective at solving Thailand's ethical problems than tools imported uncritically from the West.

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Statues of monks, like this figure at Wat U Mong Klang Wiang, are common sites for Thai Buddhists' offerings(Photo: Scott Stonington)
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pmed-0030439-g002: Statues of monks, like this figure at Wat U Mong Klang Wiang, are common sites for Thai Buddhists' offerings(Photo: Scott Stonington)


Is there a global bioethics? End-of-life in Thailand and the case for local difference.

Stonington S, Ratanakul P - PLoS Med. (2006)

Statues of monks, like this figure at Wat U Mong Klang Wiang, are common sites for Thai Buddhists' offerings(Photo: Scott Stonington)
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1621096&req=5

pmed-0030439-g002: Statues of monks, like this figure at Wat U Mong Klang Wiang, are common sites for Thai Buddhists' offerings(Photo: Scott Stonington)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America. scott.stonington@ucsf.edu

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Gaew's physician, Dr. Nok, informs Gaew's brother, Lek, that Gaew has little chance of recovery due to his lack of brain activity... Lek does not know what to do—he wants to give his brother the best care possible, but he knows his brother is suffering... In Buddhist terms, Dr. Nok's own karma is at stake... Karma is a moral law, central to lay Thai Buddhism, which describes chains of cause and effect that result from individual behavior... None of these fundamental principles of Western bioethics—autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, truth-telling, or justice—sufficiently explain Lek and Dr. Nok's dilemma... Dr. Nok's solution to Gaew's end-of-life is instructive as an introduction to what a Thai bioethics might look like... Dr. Nok and Lek cannot remove Gaew's ventilator, and yet their compassion and duty demand that they relieve his suffering... They circumvent this dilemma by helping Gaew to let go of his life peacefully... This strategy has a positive effect on the karmic fate of everyone involved... Dr. Nok's solution to Gaew's end-of-life is not just for Gaew, it is also for herself and for Lek... In the West, the main purpose of a country-wide policy is to resolve conflicts between individuals over medical decisions... However, because the concept of interdependence is so central for most Thais, Thailand's bioethical policies may differ dramatically from those found in the West... Thailand is just beginning the long process of integrating its multitude of local voices and concepts into nationwide ethical standards... This new Thai ethics promises to be much more effective at solving Thailand's ethical problems than tools imported uncritically from the West.

Show MeSH