The teaching of bioethics in medical schools in Brazil

Abstract In Brazilian medical education and in the general teaching of bioethics in Brazil, there is a recurrent debate about the best way to teach ethics and/or bioethics, and even about whether it is possible to do so. In part this is due to the growing concern in society about the necessity of physicians to be both technically and morally competent. The teaching of bioethics is distinguished from medical ethics in that it focuses on the rights and duties of the doctor and also by its multi- and inter-disciplinary characteristics. The aim of the present study was to identify whether bioethics as a specific discipline is included in the curriculum of Brazilian undergraduate medical courses, and if so, how it is taught and what are its contents. The study found that the number of dedicated bioethics classes in medical courses has increased, and that the most frequently addressed issues are: an introduction to bioethics and principles of bioethics, the physician-patient relationship, abortion and euthanasia.