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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Laws that Conflict with the Ethics of Medicine: What Should Doctors Do?

By Dena S. Davis and Eric Kodish
Hastings Center Report 44, no. 6 (2014): 11-14.
DOI: 10.1002/hast.382

Here is an excerpt:

Medical ethics has always asked doctors to put their patients first, even at some risk to themselves. “Medicine is, at its center, a moral enterprise grounded in a covenant of trust,” writes Christine Cassell. “This covenant obliges physicians to be competent and to use their competence in the patient's best interests. Physicians, therefore, are both intellectually and morally obliged to act as advocates for the sick wherever their welfare is threatened and for their health at all times.”[19] Physicians are expected to care for patients with infectious diseases, even at risk of their own health. Physicians are expected to do some pro bono work, to take on some patients who are not financial assets, and so on. Physicians should be advocates for the health of all people, above and beyond even their own patients. The AAP is “dedicated to the health of all children.”[20] The imperative to act on this ethical norm clearly suggests that physicians should challenge these types of laws. On rare occasions, individual doctors may be ethically justified in disobeying or breaking the law.

The entire article is here.