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Moral factors are elements in decision making that relate to our relationships, as individuals and communities, with other people and the values used to structure ways of living well. Moral factors pervade every medical decision but often go unnoticed because in standard practice there is consensus on how to balance competing moral factors best. These factors become most apparent in particularly troubling circumstances, such as a diminished mental capacity, limited resources, or vulnerability of subjects in research. Western medicine has a long tradition of attempting to enumerate and codify these factors to provide a practical guide for both ethical conduct and decision making. Attempts to do so include the Hippocratic oath, the American Medical Asso ciation's Code of Ethics, the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration ...

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