DEFINITION: Medical ethics is the set of rules for evaluating the merits, demerits as well as hazards, and social concerns regarding activities in the field of medical practice. INTRODUCTION: Medical ethics has many things in common with the ethics in other branches of medical science like nursing and healthcare. Ethical thinkers have advocated many reliable methods useful in evaluating the ethics of a particular situation. These methods put forward forward certain principles which medical practitioners should consider while making a medical decision.
Six General principles of medical ethics are as under: Six General Principles of Medical Ethics: 1 A physician shall devote himself to the task of providing competent medical treatment and care, with kindness and respect and shall hold in high esteem human dignity and rights. 2 A physician shall safeguard the standard of professionalism, be honest and above reproach in his interactions, and strive to expose physicians who are deficient in their character or competence, or are engaging in fraudulent practice or deception. A physician shall continue to acquire, apply, and further scientific knowledge, shall be committed to medical education, He shall be making relevant information available to his patients, his colleagues, and the public, shall consult, and use the talent of other health experts when required.
4 A physician shall not shirk from the responsibility of participating in activities which improve the community and contribute towards betterment of public health. 5 A physician shall, at the time caring a patient, consider his responsibility to the patient of paramount importance. A physician shall make medical care accessible to all people Four core principles of medical ethics are as under: 1 Immoral Beneficence: Ethical Principle of immoral beneficence categorically states that the physician should not allow a conflict-of-interest to influence medical judgment. For instance, doctors who get income from referring patients to patologists/pathological laboratories medical tests have been shown to refer more and more patients for medical tests not for diagnostic purpose but for getting commission from pathologists.
This practice is prohibited by the Ethics Manual Of American College of Physicians with a view to preventing a doctor forming an unholy nexus with a pathologist. 2 Killing a patient or committing Abortion: According to Hippocrates oath a doctor will follow a system,according to his ability and judgement which he considers good for his patient and he will abstain from harmful and mischievous practice.
He will not give to a woman any medicine to produce abortion . He will not give deadly medicine to anyone even if asked . A doctor will pass his life with purity and holiness and practice his art honestly. 3 Prohibition of Sexual relationships with the Patient : Medical ethics proscribes sexual relationship between a doctor and a patient. Doctors who break this rule are made to face deregistration and prosecution. 4 Not to Treat family members:
According to this principle of medical ethics It is considered inappropriate for a doctor to treat members of his own family (parents , children, partners etc. ) The reason behind this is that the patient may not to be open and honest regarding his condition, because of the family relationship, and that the family relationship may even be used to compel the patient in to agree to treatment he might otherwise have not, thus treating patient of ones own family amounts to interference with patient’s autonomy.
Secondly, however, a patient with a doctor in his family may prefer to seek treatment from him , due to the greater trust he has in him, the greater convenience he represents but it is not good because in certain cases family relation is used to exert pressure or used for manipulating the physician into providing treatment he might otherwise see as inappropriate in the facts and cicumstances of the patient (e. g. anorexiants, drugs of addiction).