Unit 8

Respect for human vulnerability and personal integrity


The notion of ‘human vulnerability’

a. Respect for human vulnerability
b. Different aspects of vulnerability
i. biological
ii. social
iii. cultural
c. Implications of the principle: care

The powers of medicine:

a. The fight against vulnerability
b. Successes and failures
c. Problems with the basic assumption that vulnerability should be eliminated
d. Towards sustainable medicine

The dilemmas of vulnerability

a. The role of domestic legal provisions
b. The role of international human rights law


a. Explain Article 7.a.
b. How to obtain consent in health care practice?
c. Special procedures in ethics to construct consent
i. Determination of appropriate substitute decision-makers
ii. Best interest criterion

The context of research involving human subjects

a. Explain Article 7.b.
b. Should research been done with persons not able to consent?
c. Research for direct health benefit
d. Research without potential direct health benefit


The serpent’s Egg / (I. Bergman, 1977)

Abel Rosenberg is an out-of-work American circus acrobat living in poverty-stricken Berlin following Germany’s defeat in World War I. When his brother commits suicide, Abel seeks refuge in the apartment of an old acquaintance Professor Veregus. Desperate to make ends meet in the war-ravaged city, Abel takes a job in Veregus’ clinic, where he discovers the horrific truth behind the work of the strangely beneficent professor and unlocks the chilling mystery that drove his brother to kill himself.

Ethical Issues
Medicine in Germany 1918-1933: experiment on sensorial isolation, extreme drugs, psychological resistance and gas reactions.