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PMA Forum: Engaging Medical Ethical Dilemmas

Premedical Association Forum

Dr. Francis S. Nuthalapaty, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville

Dr. Nuthalapaty centered our thoughts on the four main parts of the Hippocratic Oath at last night’s event and challenged us as the next generation of healthcare professionals to be developing our personal moral standards. He used the four parts of the Greek oath — autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice — to teach us how to reach an ethically sound answer to medical case studies that he often comes across in his chosen field of OB/GYN.

Dr. Nuthalapaty stated that medical schools are not the place to establish your personal ethic and moral values. Students must already be established in their worldview to know how to handle situational ethics.

Dr. Nuthalapaty opened up the floor for discussion of these case studies, and the PMA members worked together to determine appropriate responses to them. One study dealt with the use of amniocentesis, and whether or not doctors have the right to refuse medical care if the mother chooses to abort the baby due to results obtained from this test. Patient autonomy, fetal beneficence and other considerations were discussed, and Dr. Nuthalapaty shared from personal experience what angle he would consider this case.

Dr. Nuthalapaty brought an insightful, practical lecture for the PMA, and we that attended left feeling encouraged and also challenged to be putting our personal beliefs into practice now, so that when those gray-area situations arise in our future specialties, we can be fully prepared to stand up for what we know is right.

Written by Grace Denton, junior biology major

Published February 20, 2013