and Childress (1989) created a biomedical model to the ethics of healthcare
that is based on four moral principles. These are: respect for autonomy,
non-maleficence, beneficence and justice. These key principles are also
supplemented by four rules which are: veracity, privacy, confidentiality and
first principle ‘respect for autonomy’ allows the patient to make an informed
decision with respect from the midwife. This means that patients have the right
to decide whether to undergo any healthcare intervention even if the refusal
will lead to harm or death. Autonomy allows women to make an informed and self-imposed
decision and can self-rule without the interference from others. They are
deemed to have their own values and beliefs, and this is to be respected. As a
midwife their role is to be an advocate for these women and to support them in
their individual choices.
‘beneficence’ with ‘non-maleficence’ may be considered together as suggested by
Gillon (1994) as they are both in place to ensure the midwife does no harm and only
intention is helping patients and to do good. Midwives must ensure that they
are able to deliver competent, safe care and to do this they must receive
effective education and training both before and during their professional
careers. They must also make sure that care they give is of benefit to the
patient. In doing this midwives must respect the patients autonomy.
The final principle ‘justice’ which is an obligation to treat others fairly.
It includes the principles of fairness, equity and entitlement to what is deserved.
Equality is at the heart of justice and in order to achieve fair outcomes for all,
it is important to treat everyone equally. The principle of justice requires all
midwives to obey morally acceptable laws even if they may disapprove of the law
they are morally obliged to obey it.