Medical Ethics Medical Ethics

Medical practice is a vital aspect of human life as it protects human
beings from pain and diseases. This practice is broad because it
encompasses various areas of speciality, which deal with different
concerns of human health. Imperatively medical practice deals with
sensitive matters of human life and human health thus the practice
requires considerate regulation and control to eliminate or diminish
cases of malpractice by doctors, as well as other medical personnel.
Medical ethics establishes professional relationships between doctors
and doctors and doctors and patients and the general public. Medical
ethics describes the codes and behaviour standards, which must be
followed, by medical personnel to ensure the safety and well being of
clients and patients. Medical ethics gives precedence to the welfare of
patients at all times while protecting the medical personnel from harm
and infection from patients.
Precisely, medical ethics is an area of principles that pertain to
health practice. In some contexts, medical ethics is perceived as a
component of bioethics broad field that houses sciences’ ethics
(Fremgen, 2012). However, medical ethics is closely associated to
ethical areas that intersect with medical practice as nursing ethics. It
is significant to note that the field of ethics is extremely broad.
However, ethical considerations and standards that are outside medical
ethics are far beyond the scope of this paper. Therefore, the paper will
concentrate in the medical ethics as well as theories that have been
developed to guide the application of medical ethics (Herring, 2012).
Medicine practice is tailored to enhance the wellness of the people, by
ensuring that pain and diseases are handled effectively to reduce or
eliminate suffering. Medical ethics reflect the ambitions of medical
practice to realize a society that is free of diseases and suffering
(Fremgen, 2012). Medical ethics offer guidelines and principles, which
mandate doctors to benefit and heal their patients with maximum caution
to avoid unnecessary harm to patients. However, there are circumstances
that result to ethical dilemmas as several aspects compete for similar
attention and resources (Fremgen, 2012). For instance, doctors encounter
ethical dilemmas when deciding, on the right person to give treatment
between extremely ill patients, without hope of recovery of patients who
are not extremely ill, but have hope of recovery. The existence of such
situations demonstrates that medical ethics are sophisticated, and the
degree of complication can vary depending with the underlying
Further, doctor patient confidentiality is another area that is covered
in medical ethics. Imperatively, the information that concerns that
health status of the patient is highly privileged should not share such
information with another person (Pattinson, 2011). Patients disclose
their entire secrets to the doctors and nurses with regard to their
health conditions and such information should remain confidential (Hope
et al, 2008)
. However, there are situations that might call for the violation of
doctor patient confidentiality as a doctor might share confidential
information with a colleague to gain different insight on the best way
to help a patient. Further, such information might be shared with
relative with the consent of the patient (Herring, 2012).
Further, patients should be respected, and the dignity of patients
should also be guarded. Doctors and nurses should seek the consent of
the patients before administering any medication to the patients
(Fremgen, 2012). This consent should be based on knowledge where the
doctors and nurses are supposed to explain the procedure, the
consequences and benefits of the procedure. Therefore, patients should
be facilitated to make a decision that are informed and achieve the
ethical requirement of informed consent, instead of being manipulated to
accept procedure that might be harmful to their health (Herring, 2012).
Further, there are medical ethics that cover conduct and behaviour that
should exist between doctors and patients (Fremgen, 2012). Doctors
should demonstrate the highest possible professionalism while dealing
with their patients. For instance, doctors should not take advantage of
the emotional attachment that emerges from the interactions between
patients and doctors (McLean, 2002). Evidently, patients develop and
emotional attachment to people who reduce their suffering and care for
the sick. Such emotional dependency might lead to sexual relationships,
which are extremely unethical. Finally, medical ethics extend their
influence and control to other activities as billing, management of
clinics, medical offices, medical staff and hospitals (Pattinson, 2011).
Ethical theories provide the basis of understanding and approach to
medical ethics. There are various theories, which offer different
explanations and emphasis to various aspects, which are considered while
making medical decisions, to determine whether the actions are ethical
or not (Fremgen, 2012). Imperatively, different theories focus on
different perception of medical activities and some things that might be
ethical in one theory might prove otherwise in other theories. The
initial ethical theory is consequentialism, which holds that the
outcomes of an action are considered in any moral action (Pattinson,
2011). This theory holds that a moral or ethical action is the action
that exploits the greatest benefit to the largest number of people
(Pattinson, 2011). For instance, an ethical medical activity should
maximise the outcome symptom and pain free outcome in patients. On the
contrary, the execution of the central idea of this theory can result to
violation of rights of certain individuals.
Deontology is the second ethical theory that exists and it based on
respect, duties and rights of people as ends in the people. Unlike
consequentialism, deontology emphasizes on the intentions and motive of
an individual, rather than the outcome (Fremgen, 2012). Deontologists
adhere to their duties, and their actions are judged as ethical with
regard to adherence to the obligation (Hope et al, 2008). Doctors and
nurses have the obligations and duties to treat patients and refrain
from harm at all times. Adherence to duties and obligations defines
whether an individual is ethical or not (McLean, 2002).
Virtue Ethics emphasize the significance moral character of individuals.
Doctors and nurses are expected to posses the values and personality
traits, which are accepted by the society as norms. For instance,
doctors should always be truthful and honest and kind to their patients.
Principlism ethical theory is the most fundamental ethical theory the
healthcare field (Fremgen, 2012). This theory finds expansive
applicability in the healthcare field as it encompasses vital
principals, which should be observed in the entire medical practice.
These principles include justice, autonomy, non-malficence, as well as
beneficence, and the principles are blended in the entire medical
practice with wisdom and expertise (McLean, 2002). This theory
integrates and incorporates the best practical elements, which apply to
most religious, cultural and societal orientations of different people
who seek medical attention (Pattinson, 2011). Virtue ethics theory
incorporates the named elements to healthcare practice as it enables
patients, significant other, as well as a healthcare professional to
discover a rationale and balance for making decisions, which deliver
mutual gain (McLean, 2002).
Conclusively, healthcare ethics are vital because they guide medical
practice, as well as the interactions between healthcare personnel and
professionals and patients. Healthcare professionals are bound by
ethical standards and principle, which restrain their practices to
ensure that the actions and decisions that are made accommodate the
entire health, dignity, welfare, and educational needs of the patients.
Ethical theories present varying approaches to the understanding of
description of ethical and unethical actions. The description of actions
as ethical or unethical depends with the theoretical background that is
being utilized for the definition of the same.
Fremgen, B. F. (2012). Medical law and ethics. Upper Saddle River, N.J:
Hope, R. A., Savulescu, J., & Hendrick, J. (2008). Medical ethics and
law: The core curriculum. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Herring, J. (2012). Medical law and ethics. Oxford, U.K: Oxford
University Press.
McLean, S. (2002). Medical law and ethics. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Pattinson, S. D. (2011). Medical law and ethics. London: Sweet &
Maxwell/Thomson Reuters.