Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology

From the Patient's View Point

Shoko Mukai

Free-lance Writer

Medicine (medical care) is a study and technology backed by the high expertise human beings have created, passed down, and developed for human beings, to save sick people's lives and heal the pain and agony of illness. Because medicine is a specialized technology that is beyond the understanding of common people, medicine without expertise is not beneficial. Furthermore, medicine must essentially be evaluated in the actual field where people live. As long as medical science and medical care continue to be part of the social system, evaluation of medicine requires a social perspective. It is true that today, patients' rights are presented, ethics is pursued, and guidelines are provided. In reality, however, more than a few people are pushed into death without any "right of true self-determination" or "dignity." Particularly, in the field where "ethics of neurology" is required, the most difficult questions, including the decision to discontinue treatment, must be answered and conflicts can occur. The frightening thing is that words intentionally used from the political / economical aspect are penetrating into the general public without them realizing it. In these circumstances where expressions that can affect the content of treatment, such as "death with dignity" and "end-of-life (terminal)," are penetrating into society and being reflected in specific systems, while presenting a seemingly scientific, intellectual, ethical, and / or moral image, how should medical professionals handle the situation?
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (187K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 48: 963|964, 2008)
key words: ethics of neurology, patient's rights, responsibility of medical profession, institutionalization of the medicine, economization of medicine

(Received: 16-May-08)