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Medical Ethics

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Gillian Tosatto

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of Medical Ethics

WHAT DO YOU THINK????? Case No. 2 Case No. 1 Medical Ethics: What is the right thing to do? The moral conduct and principles that govern members of the medical profession "An anesthesiologist on staff at a hospital went to see a fellow doctor as a patient. He was having brief lapses of consciousness related to complex partial seizures, a form of epilepsy that had gone unrecognized during his residency.

He admitted to having at least one seizure in the OR that was so brief that no one observed it.

The condition was treatable but left the second doctor uncertain about whether to uphold the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship or to inform the hospital staff." "Though the anesthesiologist’s condition was treatable, his doctor told him it was serious enough that he could not honor his privacy if the anesthesiologist did not notify his chairman.

The anesthesiologist did and subsequently resigned his position.

A note in his file ensured that this information would be forwarded to any hospital he might apply to for a position. It would be up to that hospital to further evaluate the anesthesiologist to see if he was capable of working safely with patients." Who Decides? "A mother of four children entered the hospital after suffering a massive stroke and was put on a ventilator.

Doctors believed that she would not regain brain function.

One of her sons got to the hospital first and told doctors that should his mother suffer heart failure or any other irreversible complication, no measures should be taken to save her life.

Doctors worked under that assumption until one of the woman’s daughters arrived and claimed that her brother wasn’t interested in helping their mother. He had pushed to put their mother in a nursing home, the sister said, and added that she wanted to do everything possible to extend her mother’s life.

The mother was widowed and hadn’t specified which of her children was to make decisions on her behalf. Doctors had to choose whose wishes to follow." "Until the legal and ethical issues could be resolved, the ethics team told the children that a Do Not Resuscitate order would not be put in place.

They also told the children that there was nothing more that could be done for the mother to reverse her condition.

In the course of the consultation, the siblings discussed how their mother responded to the Terri Schiavo case. They remembered their mother saying she thought it was terrible. “They should let that girl die in peace,” they recalled her saying.

Everyone, including the sister who had initially rejected the idea, agreed that the mother should not be resuscitated in the case that her heart failed. She died shortly thereafter." The American Medical Association (AMA) has a specific division, the Ethics Group, for "helping establish ethical policies, developing educational programs and pursuing scholarly research of ethical issues in medicine..."
They have created the AMA Code of Medical Ethics "A physician shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and strive to report physicians deficient in character or competence, or engaging in fraud or deception, to appropriate entities." THE ISSUES "The protection of patients trumps doctor-patient privilege.

Unless proper treatment is certain to allow the anesthesiologist to practice safely, his condition should be disclosed to the hospital.

It’s up to hospital administrators to decide whether the doctor should be allowed to treat patients and under what conditions."

WHAT SHOULD THEY DECIDE??? THE OUTCOME "A physician shall, while caring for a patient, regard responsibility to the patient as paramount." Principle VIII. It may seem obvious, but the code includes principles such as Principle II... The Outcome The ISSUES "Without a spouse involved, the responsibility for end- of-life decisions falls on a patient’s children...and all the children hold equal weight.

Doctors have to focus on what the patient, not her children, would want. They may look for examples of “substituted judgment,” or statements that the patient may have made that give clues about her wishes.

If, while watching ER, say, the mother had commented that she would rather be unplugged than be kept in a vegetative state, that sentiment would hold more weight than any of her children’s opinions on the matter.

If no good evidence emerges as to the patient’s wishes, the hospital’s dispute-mediation team has to step in." SOURCES http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/public/ethical-dilemmas



http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html By: Gillian Tosatto Began in Ancient Greek times with the Hippocratic Oath A BRIEF HISTORY OF MEDICAL ETHICS.... -The Hippocratic Oath was an ancient Greek document that required new physicians to swear to the gods that they would uphold certain ethical standards.

-This is pretty much the basis of all medical ethical codes and has been altered many times over the years since its creation to keep it relevant

-Many physicians still swear upon a modernized version of this document includes promises such as... "I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug."


"I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. "

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