Guiding Principles for Ethical Professional Practice
First published in 1979 by philosophers, Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, The Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics laid the foundation for ethical decision making in healthcare. It is used today by the CRTO to provide a framework to guide RT practice.
The Four Principles
1. Respect for Autonomy- free will
The obligation to respect the patient’s (or their substitute decision-makers) plan of care. This principle requires RTs to:
2. Beneficence – to do good
The obligation to provide care that is beneficial to each patient in each situation. This principle requires RT’s to:
3. Non-malfeasance – avoid doing harm
The obligation to consider the possible harm of any intervention that is performed. This principle requires RT’s to:
4. Distribute Resources with Justice – act fairly
The obligation to be fair in distributing benefits, risks and costs. This principle requires RT’s to:
assess the impact of the allocation of resources from one group to another
These four principles are considered to be equally weighted, binding obligations for healthcare professionals. On occasions where two or more of the guiding principles conflict in their application, the task becomes determining which principle should overrule the other. This guidance document utilizes these four principles as the framework for ethical decision making for RT practice.