Psychopathy is currently a condition that arouses great interest among psychiatrists because of its significant involvement in the forensic field. The authors illustrate the course over time of the concept of psychopathy, starting from the definition of “moral insanity” of Prichard. The historical journey allows to illustrate the different positions that the various European schools of psychiatry have had toward psychopathy, until modern nosographic classification systems such as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Special attention is paid to the “core” of psychopathy: the alteration of the moral sense, and through the illustration of moral development is provided a reading of morality in the psychopath and the reasons for its impairment. A clinical and critical examination of psychopathy assessment scales is proposed, with the aim to broaden the horizons of assessment, also to individuals who do not show violent behavior, but with compromised moral sense. Lastly, authors propose an interpretation of the social aspects of psychopathy that goes beyond the assessment of the psychopath confined in jails, with several highlighted aspects of psychopathy that contribute to social success in work, relationships, and career and that can contribute to the success of the psychopath.
Part of the book: Psychopathy
The evolution of medicine confronts healthcare professionals with new ethical challenges. Elements such as professional secrecy, patient benefit, justice in the distribution of resources are put in crisis by the evolution of medical procedures. Today, doctors must make life-and-death decisions about many patients. As the resources are not enough for all patients, the ‘first-come, first-served’ criterion crumbles under the weight of the overwhelming demand for treatment. Consequently, they can no longer make treatment decisions based only on proportionality and clinical appropriateness criteria. They must take into account the availability of resources and prioritise patients with ‘the longer life expectancy’. This amounts to saying ‘the weakest will die’ … with the doctors’ consent. While the guidelines issued by scientific societies may well protect doctors from lawsuits, the choice of who to treat and who to let die is left to the conscience of the individual doctor; and it is a choice sharply clashing with the Hippocratic oath and with professional and personal ethics. This and others are a real ethical problem.
Part of the book: Bioethics in Medicine and Society