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Medical Ethics


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Not all ethical dilemmas are matters of life and death, but in the world of medicine many of them can be. Every day our doctors and scientists are called on to make judgements and choices, and the moral values that inform them make all the difference. If medical ethics extend beyond the Hippocratic Oath, what are the burning considerations and how do they manifest themselves?

Questions of pain management and patients’ bills of rights, confidentiality and consent, eugenics and euthanasia, the right to choice and the issue of stem cell research will be considered by our panel of experts. ‘First do no harm’ never seemed so difficult.

Chaired by Helen MacDonald


Paul Myles

Professor Paul Myles is Head of the Department of Anaesthesia & Perioperative Medicine at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University. His clinical work includes major trauma, heart and lung transplantation, and cancer. He has published more than 200 papers, many in leading medical journals such ... Read more

Paul Komesaroff

Professor Paul Komesaroff is a physician, medical researcher and philosopher at Monash University in Melbourne, where he is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society. He is a practising clinician, specialising in the field of endocrinology, and his scientifi... Read more

Helen MacDonald

Helen MacDonald’s latest book is Possessing the Dead and she has previously won the Premier’s Literary Award. Helen MacDonald is the author of the critically acclaimed Human Remains, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (History) and was shortlisted for the Ernest Scott History Pri... Read more

Jacinta Halloran

Jacinta Halloran is a Melbourne GP and writer. She has written on medical topics for a wide variety of publications, including the Sunday Age and Inside Story. Her second novel, Pilgrimage, was recently published (Scribe Publications, 2012). In 2005 her short story, ‘Finding Joshua,’ won the ina... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.