Medical Ethics is
no different to Ethics, but relates specifically to the doctor-patient
relationship. This relationship is based on mutual trust—trust in the doctor’s
expertise and knowledge and trust that the patient is consulting the doctor, for
his/her/their own health, wellbeing and welfare, without agenda or bias. In
other words, the basis of the doctor-patient relationship is one of mutual
trust and confidence. Thus, what is imparted between them is held in the
strictest confidence. The doctor must act within the law. No third party
influence can be brought to bear on this relationship without the patient’s
consent. In the case of minors the relationship is between the child’s guardians
as well as the doctor who must act within the law. In the category of “elderly”
or adult guardianship or advocacy, those appointed and in positions of trust
must take the person’s wishes into account if the patient has capacity to make
decisions or has indicated their wish prior to any such appointment. Capacity
is defined as consistent belief or wish, awareness of what one does not wish
for, satisfaction when wishes are respected and fulfilled and the opposite when
they are not. Ethical practice is determined by taking context into account in
decision-making and ensuring the sanctity of the patient’s rights and wishes. Abuse
is just the opposite, where actions taken or not taken are against a person’s
wishes. Personal wish determines best interest. Best interest may also be defined
in terms of social functioning and psychological wellbeing. Discussion of
ethics in terms of General Systems Theory is also addressed, and affects an
action on the environment or others, i.e.
ethics in the wider medical context may pertain if the person has a contagious
disease and a period of quarantine or “isolation” or barrier” nursing is
required, and where precedent is given to society’s best interest over the
person’s wishes, as part of an educational process and as required for
strategic disease management.
Cite this paper
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