How can you define healthcare ethics? Healthcare ethics is nothing but a set of principles and values that is used to take decisions in the medical industry. There are multiple ethical challenges casting an impact on the patient and their families in the health care settings. The patients, families as well as the healthcare professionals often face difficulties taking decision about medical treatments as they involve religious concerns, moral beliefs and even professional guidelines.
Ethics chiefly deal with the wrong and right conduct, the things that we ought to do and the things that we should refrain of doing. Medical ethics deal with the moral concerns that arise while taking care of the patients. At times the clinical decisions need to be taken considering things apart from the medical condition of the patient.
“Ethical issues arise when not all values can be respected.Â The values in conflict must then be prioritized and the essence of ‘doing ethics’ is to justify breaching the values that are not respected.”
Healthcare ethics is chiefly about thoughtful exploration of the ways to act well and opt for the morally good options that are based on values and beliefs about health, suffering, and death.
Medical Ethics Pillars
- Respect the autonomy of the patients.
- Promote the things that would benefit the patient.
- Do not cause harm.
- There are limited resources. It is not possible to cure all. Set the priorities right.
Medical Ethics Principles
Here are some of the medical ethics principles connected with the pillars.
- Physicians should always dedicate themselves to provide competent medical service, with respect and compassion for human rights and dignity.
- Physicians should uphold the standards of professionalism and show honesty in the professional interactions. They must also report the fellow physicians in case they are deficit in competence and character or engage in deception or fraud.
- Physicians must respect right of the colleagues, patients as well as health care professionals.
- The physicians must respect the privacy of the patients and should never release medical information of the patient without his or her consent.
Popular Ethical Considerations
The question on ethics chiefly arises when it is not easy to decide on the best step to take or there are several ways to address a situation. Here are some of the examples of common ethical questions.
- When exactly should the life sustaining treatments begin, how long should it continue and when exactly should it be stopped.
- What is to be done if the patient or his family decides against a treatment even if it would prove medically helpful.
- Who has the right to take decisions if the patient is unable to decide for himself or fail to communicate it to the doctor or the health care professionals?
- What is to be done when the patient feels that they are not understanding the treatment and they are not given the opportunity to participate in their own health care options.
Framework to Address the Ethical Aspects
Here is a proposed framework that will aid in addressing the ethical aspects while confronting a situation.
- The case must be described to the patient and his family in simple words while putting in the pertinent facts.
- Clearly indicate the ethical dilemma.
- Explain the alternatives in hand.
- The prime considerations must be listed.
- Medical alternatives available
- Right of the patient and family
- Propose resolution
Avoid the Pitfalls
Steps can be taken to avoid the pitfalls while abiding by the principles of medical ethics. Here are some points to remember.
- Ethics is chiefly about thinking. Do not be afraid of thinking.
- They may be several correct answers to a question. Do not hesitate to seek advice.
- Always think of the welfare for your patient. Communicate your concerns to him and his family.
- Patients can decide to make the wrong decision.
- Be broad minded. Everyone will not share your values. That is too much of a demand.
- Always be ready to justify your position.
Though health care industry in each country is perfectly well defined, several issues arise causing trouble to the health care providers. Do you know what are the best ways to deal with these concerns? Experience and training. Nothing else can help here.