Conflicts of interest are rampant in the American medical community. Today it is not uncommon for doctors to refer patients to clinics or labs in which they have a financial interest (40% of physicians in Florida invest in medical centers); for hospitals to offer incentives to physicians who refer patients (a practice that can lead to unnecessary hospitalization); or for drug companies to provide lucrative give-aways to entice doctors to use their "brand name" drugs (which are much more (...) expensive than generic drugs). In Medicine, Money and Morals, Marc A. Rodwin draws on his own experience as a health lawyer--and his research in health ethics, law, and policy--to reveal how financial conflicts of interest can and do negatively affect the quality of patient care. He shows that the problem has become worse over the last century and provides many actual examples of how doctors' decisions are influenced by financial considerations. We learn how two California physicians, for example, resumed referrals to Pasadena General Hospital only after the hospital started paying $70 per patient (their referrals grew from 14 in one month to 82 in the next). As Rodwin writes, incentives such as this can inhibit a doctor from taking action when a hospital fails to provide proper service, and may also lead to the unnecessary hospitalization of patients. We also learn of a Wyeth-Ayerst Labs promotion in which physicians who started patients on INDERAL (a drug for high blood pressure, angina, and migraines) received 1000 mileage points on American Airlines for each patient (studies show that promotions such as this have a direct effect on a doctor's choice of drug). Rodwin reveals why the medical community has failed to regulate conflicts of interest: peer review has little authority, state licensing boards are usually ignorant of abuses, and the AMA code of ethics has historically been recommended rather than required. He examines what can be learned from the way society has coped with the conflicts of interest of other professionals --lawyers, government officials, and businessmen--all of which are held to higher standards of accountability than doctors. And he recommends that efforts be made to prohibit and regulate certain kinds of activity (such as kickbacks and self-referrals), to monitor and regulate conduct, and to provide penalties for improper conduct. Our failure to face physicians' conflicts of interest has distorted the way medicine is practiced, compromised the loyalty of doctors to patients, and harmed society, the integrity of the medical profession, and patients. For those concerned with the quality of health care or medical ethics, Medicine, Money and Morals is a provocative look into the current health care crisis and a powerful prescription for change. (shrink)
Background Financial relationships between physicians and industry are extensive and public reporting of industry payments to physicians is now occurring. Our objectives were to describe physician recipients of large total payments from these seven companies, and to examine discrepancies between these payments and conflict of interest (COI) disclosures in authors’ concurrent publications. Methods The investigative journalism organization, ProPublica, compiled the Dollars for Docs database of payments to individuals from publically available data from seven US pharmaceutical companies during the (...) period 2009 to 2010. We examined the cohort of 373 physicians in this database who each received USD $100,000 or more in the reporting period 2009 to 2010. Results These physicians received a total of $52,600,624 during this period (mean payment per physician $141,020). The predominant specialties were internal medicine and psychiatry. 147 of these physicians authored a total of 134 publications in the first quarter of 2011 and 77% (103) of these publications provided a COI disclosure. 69% of the 103 publications did not contain disclosures of the payment listed in the Dollars for Docs database. Conclusions With increased public reporting of industry payments to physicians, it is apparent that large sums are being paid for services such as consulting and peer education. In over two-thirds of publications where COI disclosures were provided, the disclosures by physician authors did not include industry payments that were documented in the Dollars for Docs database. (shrink)
Euthanasia and physician assisted-suicide are terms used to describe the process in which a doctor of a sick or disabled individual engages in an activity which directly or indirectly leads to their death. This behavior is engaged by the healthcare provider based on their humanistic desire to end suffering and pain. The psychiatrist's involvement may be requested in several distinct situations including evaluation of patient capacity when an appeal for euthanasia is requested on grounds of terminal somatic illness or when (...) the patient is requesting euthanasia due to mental suffering. We compare attitudes of 49 psychiatrists towards euthanasia and assisted suicide with a group of 54 other physicians by means of a questionnaire describing different patients, who either requested physician-assisted suicide or in whom euthanasia as a treatment option was considered, followed by a set of questions relating to euthanasia implementation. When controlled for religious practice, psychiatrists expressed more conservative views regarding euthanasia than did physicians from other medical specialties. Similarly female physicians and orthodox physicians indicated more conservative views. Differences may be due to factors inherent in subspecialty education. We suggest that in light of the unique complexity and context of patient euthanasia requests, based on their training and professional expertise psychiatrists are well suited to take a prominent role in evaluating such requests to die and making a decision as to the relative importance of competing variables. (shrink)
Some medical services have long generated deep moral controversy within the medical profession as well as in broader society and have led to conscientious refusals by some physicians to provide those services to their patients. More recently, pharmacists in a number of states have refused on grounds of conscience to fill legal prescriptions for their customers. This paper assesses these controversies. First, I offer a brief account of the basis and limits of the claim to be free to act (...) on one’s conscience. Second, I sketch an account of the basis of the medical and pharmacy professions’ responsibilities and the process by which they are specified and change over time. Third, I then set out and defend what I call the “conventional compromise” as a reasonable accommodation to conflicts between these professions’ responsibilities and the moral integrity of their individual members. Finally, I take up and reject the complicity objection to the conventional compromise. Put together, this provides my answer to the question posed in the title of my paper: “Conscientious refusal by physicians and pharmacists: who is obligated to do what, and why?”. (shrink)
This research investigates the impact of various factors on ethical behavior of 180 not-for-profit hospital employees. Ethical behavior of peers, ethical behavior of successful managers, and emotional intelligence had a significant positive impact on ethical behavior of respondents. Physicians and hospital employees with political connections within the organization were significantly less ethical than other employees. The results have many implications for researchers and healthcare practitioners.
Opponents of euthanasia sometimes argue that it is incompatible with the purpose of medicine, since physicians have an unconditional duty never to intentionally cause death. But it is not clear how such a duty could ever actually be unconditional, if due consideration is given to the moral weight of countervailing duties equally fundamental to medicine. Whether physicians' moral duties are understood as correlative with patients' moral rights or construed noncorrelatively, a doctor's obligation to abstain from intentional killing cannot (...) be more than a defeasible duty. (shrink)
This essay rebuts Gary Seay's efforts to show that committing euthanasia need not conflict with a physician's professional duties. First, I try to show how his misunderstanding of the correlativity of rights and duties and his discussion of the foundation of moral rights undermine his case. Second, I show aspects of physicians' professional duties that clash with euthanasia, and that attempts to avoid this clash lead to absurdities. For professional duties are best understood as deriving from professional virtues and (...) the commitments and purposes with which the professional as such ought to act, and there is no plausible way in which her death can be seen as advancing the patient's medical welfare. Third, I argue against Prof. Seay's assumption that apparent conflicts among professional duties must be resolved through "balancing" and argue that, while the physician's duty to extend life is continuous with her duty to protect health, any duty to relieve pain is subordinate to these. Finally, I show that what is morally determinative here, as throughout the moral life, is the agent's intention and that Prof. Seay's implicitly preferred consequentialism threatens not only to distort moral thinking but would altogether undermine the medical (and any other) profession and its internal ethics. (shrink)
The influence of direct-to-consumer advertising and physician promotions are examined in this study. We further examine some of the ethical issues which may arise when physicians accept promotional products from pharmaceutical companies. The data revealed that direct-to-consumer advertising is likely to increase the request rates of both the drug category and the drug brand choices, as well as the likelihood that those drugs will be prescribed by physicians. The data further revealed that the majority of responding physicians (...) were either neutral or did not feel that accepting some types of gifts from pharmaceutical companies affected their ethical behaviors. (shrink)
Book Information Psyche And Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment. Psyche And Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment John P. Wright Paul Potter Oxford Clarendon Press 2000 xii + 298, Hardback £45.00 Edited by John P. Wright; Paul Potter . Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. xii + 298,. Hardback:£45.00.
Physicians and families need to interact more meaningfully to clarify the values and preferences at stake in advance care planning. The current use of advance directives fails to respect patient autonomy. This paper proposes using the family covenant as a preventive ethics process designed to improve end-of-life planning by incorporating other family members—as agreed to by the patient and those family members—into the medical care dialogue. The family covenant formulates advance directives in conversation with family members and with the (...) assistance of a physician, thereby making advance directives more acceptable to the family, and more intelligible to other physicians. It adds the moral force of a promise to the obligation of respecting a patient’s preferences about end-of-life care. These negotiations between patient, family, and physician, from early planning phases through implementation, should greatly reduce the incidence of family disagreements on what the patient would have wanted. The family covenant ensures advance directive discussions within the family, promotes and respects the autonomy of other family members, and might even spur others in the family to complete advance directives through additional covenants. The family covenant holds the potential to transform moral quagmires into meaningful moral conversation. J Am Geriatr Soc 51:1155–1158, 2003. (shrink)
Role morality can be defined as “claim(ing) a moral permission to harm others in ways that, if not for the role, would be wrong” (A. Applbaum: 1999, Ethics for Adversaries: The Morality of Roles in Public and Professional Life (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ) p. 3). Adversarial situations resulting in role morality occur most frequently in the fields of law, business, and government. Within the realm of accounting, professional obligations may place the accountant in a situation where he/she is susceptible (...) to the pressures of role morality. If the accountant engages in acts consistent with role morality, significant harm to others may result. The current study represents an initial investigation into role morality in accounting and includes survey data from three samples of professionals: accountants, physicians, and attorneys. Results suggest that accountants generally do not agree that role morality is acceptable. Additionally, when compared to the groups of physicians and attorneys, physicians agree the least with role morality, while attorneys agree the most. Implications for practicing accountants and suggestions for future research into the theory of role morality are offered. (shrink)
An important part of the debate over physician-assisted suicide concerns moral duties that are specific to physicians. It is sometimes argued that physicians, by virtue of special commitments rooted in the nature of their profession, may never intentionally kill a patient, and that therefore, whether or not assisted suicide may be justifiable, it can never be right for a physician to take part in such an act. I examine four types of argument that have been offered in support (...) of this conclusion, and find that none succeeds. Each attempts to show why the duty to conserve life must be unconditional for physicians, yet a consideration of the ways in which contemporary medicine has evolved shows that such a duty is now no more fundamental to the profession than a duty to relieve suffering, which may in some cases override it. (shrink)
This article constitutes excerpts of a videotaped discussion hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine on January 14, 2008, concerning a range of topics on lethal injection prompted by the United States Supreme Court's January 7 oral arguments in Baze v. Rees. Dr. Atul Gawande moderated the roundtable that included two anesthesiologists - Dr. Robert Truog and Dr. David Waisel - as well as law professor Deborah Denno. The discussion focused on the drugs used in lethal injection executions, whether (...)physicians should participate, potential alternatives, and some of the legal parameters of Baze. (shrink)
Among the many explanations for antibiotic overprescription, some doctors cite the risk of malpractice liability if they deny a patient's request for an antibiotic and the patient's condition worsens. In this paper, I examine the merits of this concern—i.e., whether physicians could, in fact, face malpractice liability for refusing to prescribe an antibiotic when, from a public health perspective, the use of the antibiotic would be considered inappropriate. I conclude that the potential for liability cannot be dismissed entirely, but (...) the risk is remote—even in cases where there is a chance that the antibiotic might have benefited the patient. (shrink)
Physician-pharmaceutical industry interactions continue to generate heated debate in academic and public domains, both in the United States and abroad. Despite this, recent research suggests that physicians and physicians-in-training remain ignorant of the core issues and are ill-prepared to understand pharmaceutical industry promotion. There is a vast medical literature on this topic, but no single, concise resource. This book aims to fill that gap by providing a resource that explains the essential elements of this subject. The text makes (...) the reader more aware of the key ethical issues and allows the reader to be a more savvy interpreter of industry promotion, have a heightened awareness of the public and medical legal consequences of some physician-pharmaceutical industry interactions, and be better equipped to handle real-life encounters with industry. (shrink)
Malpractice insurance rates have created a crisis in American medicine. Rates are rising and reimbursements are not keeping pace. In response, physicians in the states hardest hit by this crisis are feeling compelled to take political action, and the current action of choice seems to be physician strikes. While the malpractice insurance crisis is acknowledged to be severe, does it justify the extreme action of a physician walkout? Should physicians engage in this type of collective action, and what (...) are the costs to patients and the profession when such action is taken? I will offer three related arguments against physician strikes that constitute a prima facie prohibition against such action: first, strikes are intended to cause harm to patients; second, strikes are an affront to the physician-patient relationship; and, third, strikes risk decreasing the public's respect for the medical profession. As with any prima facie obligation, there are justifying conditions that may override the moral prohibition, but I will argue that the current malpractice crisis does not rise to the level of such a justifying condition. While the malpractice crisis demands and justifies a political response on the part of the nation's physicians, strikes and slow-downs are not an ethically justified means to the legitimate end of controlling insurance costs. (shrink)
While twentieth-century medical ethics has focused on the duty of physicians to benefit their patients, the next century will see that duty challenged in three ways. First, we will increasingly recognize that it is unrealistic to expect physicians to be able to determine what will benefit their patients. Either they limit their attention to medical well-being when total well-being is the proper end of the patient or they strive for total well-being, which takes them beyond their expertise. Even (...) within the medical sphere, they have no basis for choosing among the proper medical goals for medicine. Also, there are many plausible strategies for relating predicted benefits to harms, and physicians cannot be expert in picking among these strategies. Second, increasingly plausible ethical systems recognize that in some cases, patient benefit must be sacrificed to protect patient rights including the right to the truth, to have promises kept, to have autonomy respected, and to not be killed. Third, ethics of the next century will increasingly recognize that some patient benefits must be sacrificed to fulfill duties to others - either the duty to serve the interests of others or other duties such as keeping promises, telling the truth, and, particularly, promoting justice. Physicians in the twenty-first century will be seen as having a new, more limited duty to assist the patient in pursuing the patient's understanding of the patient's interest within the constraints of deontological ethical principles and externally imposed duties to promote justice. The result will be a duty to be loyal to the consumer of health care with the recognition that often this will mean that the physician is not permitted to pursue the physician's understanding of the patient's well-being. (shrink)
Physicians make some medical decisions without disclosure to their patients. Nondisclosure is possible because these are silent decisions to refrain from screening, diagnostic or therapeutic interventions. Nondisclosure is ethically permissible when the usual presumption that the patient should be involved in decisions is defeated by considerations of clinical utility or patient emotional and physical well-being. Some silent decisions - not all - are ethically justified by this standard. Justified silent decisions are typically dependent on the physician's professional judgment, experience (...) and knowledge, and are not likely to be changed by patient preferences. We condemn the inappropriate exclusion of the patient from the decision-making process. However, if a test or treatment is unlikely to yield a net benefit, disclosure and discussion are at times unnecessary. Appropriate silent decisions are ethically justified by such considerations as patient benefit or economy of time. (shrink)
This study sought to gauge ethical attitudes about professional boundary issues of physicians and nurses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Respondents scored 10 relevant boundary vignettes as to their ethical acceptability. The group as a whole proved “aware/ ethically conservative,” but with the physicians' score falling on the “less ethically conservative” part of the spectrum compared to nurses. The degree of ethicality was more related to profession than to gender, with nurses being more “ethical” than physicians.
The average net income of physicians in the USA is more than four times the average net income of people working in all domestic industries in the USA. When critics suggest that physicians make too much money, defenders typically appeal to the following four prominent principles of economic justice: Aristotle's Income Principle, the Free Market Principle, the Utilitarian Income Principle, and Rawls' Difference Principle. I shall show that no matter which of these four principles is assumed, the present (...) high incomes of physicians cannot be defended. (shrink)
In June 2001, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a revised and expanded version of the Principles of Medical Ethics (last published in 1980). In light of the new and more comprehensive document, the present essay is geared to consideration of a longstanding tension between physician's autonomy rights and societal obligations in the AMA Code. In particular, it will be argued that a duty to treat overrides AMA autonomy rights in social emergencies, even in cases that involve personal risk to (...)physicians (e.g., bioterrorist attack, HIV infection, SARS). The argument will be made by way of the logic and language of the AMA Code through its history, commentaries, and precedents. It also will be shown that there are substantial reasons to believe that the logic of the Code is sound in morally relevant ways. The essay will conclude with some philosophical proposals suggesting a framework for the duty to render aid and the extension of those duties to physicians facing personal risks. (shrink)
When a child is born with ambiguousgenitalia it is declared a psychosocialemergency, and the policy first proposed byJohn Money (Johns Hopkins University) andadapted by the American Academy of Pediatrics(and more broadly accepted in Canada, the U.K.,and Europe) requires determination ofunderlying condition(s), selection of gender,surgical intervention, and a commitment by allparties to accept the ``real sex'' of thepatient, all no later than 18–24 months,preferably earlier. Ethicists have recentlyquestioned this protocol on several grounds:lack of medical necessity, violation ofinformed consent, uncertainty of (...) standards ofsuccess, among others. This suggests that thefaults in the protocol can be addressed andimproved. Through a rhetorical approachinformed by Perelman/Olbrechts-Tyteca, thedisciplinary pathologization and reconstructionof the body are explored as incidents ofconstraining rhetoric that enact theirpersuasion upon the body of intersexedchildren. This essay shows that thepresumptions, judgments, values, andpresuppositions brought by the physician to theidentification, diagnosis, and curativeprocedures create a network of constraints thatexclude alternative possibilities. The resultis a situation wherein parents, physicians, andintersexed patients have ``no choice'' but toaccept the medical treatment guidelines. (shrink)
Within the past few years, managed care health insurance programs have become commonplace. With managed care programs, however, physicians are facing increasing ethical pressures. This paper examines the relationship between physicians'' behavior intentions with respect to four managed care ethical scenarios and their responses to Forsyth''s (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ). This is one of the first papers to compare this scale to behavioral intentions in the workplace. We provide a literature review of the ethical dilemmas that doctors (...) face under a managed care system and conduct a national random sample of general practitioners and surgeons regarding the four managed care ethical dilemmas. The results show that the doctors surveyed are significantly more idealistic than relativistic. In relating the EPQ to the ethical scenarios, however, there was no support for the proposition that ethical ideology was related to the ethical behavioral intentions. This suggests more research is needed to establish the links between ethical positions, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Finally, there were little differences in EPQ scores by practice or demographic variables, the only significant result being that general surgeons are significantly more idealistic than family practitioners. (shrink)
The removal of life-sustaining treatment often brings physicians into conflict with patients. Because of their moral beliefs physicians often respond slowly to the request of patients or their families. People in bioethics have been quick to recommend that in cases of conflict the physician should simply sign off the case and "step aside". This is not easily done psychologically or morally. Such a resolution also masks a number of more subtle, quite trouble some problems that conflict with the (...) commitment to toleration and moral diversity that it is intended to support. These conflicts are detailed and evaluated. Keywords: collisions, conscientious objection, limits to toleration, moral diversity, patient, physician, toleration CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Since their appearance in 1850, Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (PSR) interactions with physicians have engendered intense emotional responses. The controversy has continued unabated since that time. Arguments in favor of the moral impermissibility of the PSR-physician relationship can be divided into four general categories; (1) influence, (2) patients pay but they do not choose, (3) violation of principlism, and (4) the erosion of the patient-physician relationship. None of the arguments that have thus far been proposed against the moral permissibility of (...) these interactions gives sufficient warrant to avoid them (or pursue them). It may be the case that PSR-physician interactions place the patientphysician relationship in jeopardy. This would constitute enough warrant, from a pragmatic perspective, to shun such relationships. However, no research supports this contention. A careful evaluation of the literature leaves one ambivalent at best. Keywords: pharmaceutical sales representatives, influence, conflict of interest CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Medical professionals are a community of highly educated individuals with a commitment to a core set of ideals and principles. This community provides both technical and ethical socialization. The ideal physician is confident, empathic, forthright, respectful, and thorough. These ideals allow us to define broadly "the excellence" of being a physician. At the core of these ideals is the ability to be empathic. Empathy exhibits itself in attributes of an individual's moral character and also in actions that actualize and support (...) communal life. Empathy, however, can be diminished or even lost and must be nurtured on an ongoing basis. The development of ethical physicians is strongly linked to experiences in the training period. Moral traits are situation-sensitive psychological and behavioral dispositions. The clinical environment of medical training programs can be so intense as to lead to conditions that may actually deprofessionalize trainees. Creating a clinical environment that is ethically nurturing and sustaining is an indispensable component of practicing medicine. (shrink)
Euthanasia has become the subject of ethical and political debate in many countries including Mexico. Since many physicians are deeply concerned about euthanasia, due to their crucial participation in its decision and implementation, it is important to know the psychological meaning that the term ‘euthanasia’ has for them, as well as their attitudes toward this practice. This study explores psychological meaning and attitudes toward euthanasia in 546 Mexican subjects, either medical students or physicians, who were divided into three (...) groups: a) beginning students, b) advanced students, and c) physicians. We used the semantic networks technique, which analyzed the words the participants associated with the term ‘euthanasia’. Positive psychological meaning, as well as positive attitudes, prevailed among advanced students and physicians when defining euthanasia, whereas both positive and negative psychological meaning together with more ambivalent attitudes toward euthanasia predominated in beginning students. The findings are discussed in the context of a current debate on a bill proposing active euthanasia in Mexico City. (shrink)
A study of physicians and medical students was conducted to determine the various philosophical positions they hold with respect to ethical decision-making in medicine and their epistemological presuppositions in relationship to the subjective-objective controversy in value theory. The study revealed that most physicians and medical students tend to be objectivists in value theory, i.e., believe that value judgements are knowledge claims capable of being true or false and are expressions of moral requirements and normative imperatives emanating from an (...) external value structure or moral order in the world, but that most physicians and medical students are inconsistent in the philosophical foundations of their medical ethical decision-making, i.e., in decision-making regarding values they tend to hold beliefs which are incompatible with other beliefs they hold about values. The study also revealed that most physicians and medical students think more emphasis should be placed upon medical ethics in medical education. (shrink)
Sometimes physicians lie to third-party payers in order to grant their patients treatment they would otherwise not receive. This strategy, commonly known as gaming the system, is generally condemned for three reasons. First, it may hurt the patient for the sake of whom gaming was intended. Second, it may hurt other patients. Third, it offends contractual and distributive justice. Hence, gaming is considered to be immoral behavior. This article is an attempt to show that, on the contrary, gaming may (...) sometimes be a physician's duty. Under specific circumstances, gaming may be necessary from the viewpoint of the internal morality of medicine. Moreover, the objections against gaming are examples of what we call the idealistic fallacy, that is, the fallacy of passing judgments in a nonideal world according to ideal standards. Hence, the objections are inconclusive. Gaming is sometimes justified, and may even be required in the name of beneficence. (shrink)
Because physicians use scientific inference for the generalizations of individual observations and the application of general knowledge to particular situations, the Bayesian probability solution to the problem of induction has been proposed and frequently utilized. Several problems with the Bayesian approach are introduced and discussed. These include: subjectivity, the favoring of a weak hypothesis, the problem of the false hypothesis, the old evidence/new theory problem and the observation that physicians are not currently Bayesians. To the complaint that the (...) prior probability is subjective, Bayesians reply that there will be ultimate convergence, but the rebuttal to this is that there will not be uniform convergence. Secondly, since the Bayesian scheme favors a weak hypothesis, theories turn out to be a gratuitous risk. The problem with the false hypothesis comes out in the denominator of the theorem, revealing that a factor which is not a theory at all is being considered in the reasoning. On the old evidence/new theory problem old evidence cannot confirm a new theory so that the posterior probability will equal the prior probability. Finally, empiric studies have shown that current physicians are not Bayesians. But on consideration of Bayesian inference as a system of inference, it can be reasoned that physicians should be Bayesians. However, the problem of physicians' and patients' own subjectivity continue to plague this system of medical decision making. (shrink)
Capitalizing on the hype surrounding stem cell research, numerous clinics around the world offer “stem cell therapies” for a variety of medical conditions. Despite questions about the safety and efficacy of these interventions, anecdotal evidence suggests a relatively large number of patients are traveling to receive these unproven treatments — a practice called “stem cell tourism.” Because these unproven treatments pose risks to individual patients and to legitimate translational stem cell research, stem cell tourism has generated substantial policy concern and (...) inspired attempts to reduce these risks through the development of guidelines for patients and medical practitioners. This paper examines the roles and responsibilities of physicians in patients' home countries with respect to patients' decisions to try unproven stem cell therapies abroad. Specifically, it examines professional guidance from two organizations — the American Medical Association and the International Society for Stem Cell Research — and assesses physicians' professional and legal obligations to patients considering unproven stem cell therapies. Then, drawing on qualitative interviews conducted with patients who traveled abroad for unproven stem cell treatments, it explores the roles that physicians actually play in patients' decisions and compares these actual roles with their professional and legal responsibilities. The paper concludes with a discussion of strategies to help improve the guidance physicians provide to patients considering unproven treatments. (shrink)
In the past, the study of the allocation of scarce medical resources centered around high-technology forms of health care such as the artificial heart, haemodialysis, et cetera. A major controversy considered in this study concerns the use of non-biomedical criteria (i.e., whether the social worth or financial status of a particular patient should dictate preferential medical treatment over another patient in times of shortage) in the allocation decision-making process. This article suggests that the study of allocation need not only focus (...) on the dramatic realm of the high-tech, but should also concern itself with less dramatic everyday situations. Decisions concerning treatment based upon social worth and financial status are made almost daily by most practitioners; a thorough awareness of this phenomenon is prerequisite to the proper practice of medicine. Interviews with physicians disclose that most of these everyday allocation decisions are made tacitly, with non-biomedical criteria playing a role even in decisions that appear to have been prompted only by benign (even-guided) intentions. (shrink)
Physicians often appear more troubled by moral dilemmas than would seem justified given the present social and professional consensus on many of the questions involved. Their discomfort arises not only at ethical, technical, and behavioral levels (the most commonly identified sources of difficulty), but also at an existential level, that is, as the manifestation of conflicts rooted in the processes and conditions of our coming-to-be as persons. Analysis of this level of physicians' moral difficulties requires renewed attention to (...) the physician as a person, and suggests new perspectives on the interpersonal environment of medical practice. Keywords: medical ethics, existential themes, religion and psychology, physician as person CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper examines the role of the physician in a pluralistic community. A personal and communal sense of identity must resolve a vast array of often conflicting backgrounds and contexts in order to function smoothly. Physicians are neither entitled to impose their own moral views on their patients nor expected to surrender their own moral agency. Several illustrative cases are given. The solution of inevitable conflicts is embodied within the context of the situation, but since irreconcilable differences remain, a (...) resolution is not always possible. Tolerance for such differences and ways of dealing with them allows the integrity of both parties to remain intact. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of physicians on HEC including structural and process features. Four committees were selected from among 12 volunteering to participate with 12 sessions observed. Power analysis (0.8) confirmed an adequate number of communication exchanges, and no statistical significant difference (p < 0.05) among two prior surveys affirmed the sample. Data collection included established questionnaires and communication analyses with a tested method. Results revealed physician presence was robust and similar to prior (...) reports on HEC structure; however, physicians rated their role effectiveness lower than other occupations and lower than overall committee effectiveness. Communication exchanges representing process revealed three positive communication types, and consistent attempts to aid committee functions through consensual processes that also were substantiated by non-physician members. Findings suggested more attention to both structural and process functions of HEC and their members. (shrink)
Patients increasingly see physicians not as humane caregivers but as unfeeling technicians. The study of philosophy in medical school has been proposed to foster critical thinking about one's assumptions, perspectives and biases, encourage greater tolerance toward the ideas of others, and cultivate empathy. I suggest that the study of ethics and philosophy by medical students has failed to produce the humane physicians we seek because of the way the subject matter is quarantined in American medical education. First, the (...) liberal arts are seen as the province of undergraduate education, and not medical school. Second, philosophy, when taught in medical school, is seen by students as just one subject to be mastered along with many other more important ones, and not as a way to foster critical thinking and empathy. What is needed is a new pedagogy that combines both cognitive and affective elements to implant and nourish the liberal arts in students. Removing the quarantine of philosophy from other facets of medical education is an important first step. (shrink)
The role of physicians in death penalty cases has provoked discussion in both the legal system as well as in professional organizations. Professional groups have responded by developing ethical guidelines advising physicians as to current ethical standards. Psychiatric dilemmas as a subspecialty with unique roles have required more specific guidelines. A clinical vignette provides a focus to explicate the conflicts.
This paper examines the ethical issues of conflict of interest raised by the burgeoning development of physician involvement in for-profit entrepreneurial activities outside their practice. After documenting the nature and extent of these activities, and their potential for conflicts of interest, the paper assesses the major arguments for and against physicians' referral of patients to facilities they own or in which they invest. The paper concludes that an outright ban on such activity seems ethically warranted.
The non-identity problem arises when an intervention or behavior changes the identity of those affected. Delaying pregnancy is an example of such a behavior. The problem is whether and in what ways such changes in identity affect moral considerations. While a great deal has been written about the non-identity problem, relatively little has been written about the implications for physicians and how they should understand their duties. We argue that the non-identity problem can make a crucial moral difference in (...) some circumstances, and that it has some interesting implications for when it is or is not right for a physician to refuse to accede to a patient's request. If a physician is asked to provide an intervention (identity preserving) that makes a person worse off, then such harm provides a good reason for the physician to refuse to provide the intervention. However, in cases where different (identity-altering) interventions result in different people having a better or worse life, physicians should normally respect patient choice. (shrink)
This paper argues that our modern concept of biological heredity was first clearly introduced in a theoretical and practical setting by the generation of French physicians that were active between 1810 and 1830. It describes how from a traditional focus on hereditary transmission of disease, influential French medical men like Esquirol, Fodéré, Piorry, Lévy, moved towards considering heredity a central concept for the conception of the human bodily frame, and its set of physical and moral dispositions. The notion of (...) heredity as a natural force, with a wide ranging capabilities of transmitting differentially both fundamental and accidental characters was generalized by that generation of physicians with the help of contemporary naturalists and physiologists. By 1830 the term hérédité was widespread, and it shared the explanatory and semantic qualities of traditional medical concepts like constitution and temperament. An analysis is given of the main developments that led to the conception of biological (including human) bodies as consisting of a layered, hierarchical organization of characters, differentially affected by the laws of conservation (Heredity) and change (Inneity, Variation). The mid-century work of the French physician Prosper Lucas, Traité Philosophique et Physiologique de L'Hérédité Naturelle, is shown to be the culmination of the efforts of several generations of French physicians towards having a feasible, complexly structured notion of how heredity works. (shrink)
In response to rapidly rising health care costs in the United States, federal and state governments and private industry are instituting numerous and diverse cost-containment plans. As devices for coping with a scarcity of resources, such plans present serious challenges to physicians' traditional single-minded devotion to patient welfare. Those which contain costs by directly limiting medical options or by controlling physicians' daily clinical decisions can threaten the quality of medical care by allowing economic authorities to make essentially medical (...) judgments. In contrast, other plans coax compliance by arranging incentives, e.g., offering financial rewards for successful cost containment. While they allow for clinical freedom, these plans create conflicts between physicians' fiduciary obligations to their patients and the competing interests of the payers. Such conflicts arise as physicians try to work within governmental or corporate cost containment policies, and also as they attempt to streamline clinical efficiency. Throughout, issues of justice emerge as physicians seek to reconcile their own patients' claims upon limited common resources with others' equally legitimate claims. (shrink)
Clinical psychologists' and nonpsychiatric physicians' attitudes and behaviors in sexual and confidentiality boundary violations were examined. The 171 participants' responses were analyzed by profession, sex, and status (student, resident, professional) on semantic differential, boundary violation vignettes, and a version of Pope, Tabachnick, and Keith-Spiegel's (1987) ethical scale. Psychologists rated sexual boundary violation as more unethical than did physicians (p<.001). Rationale (p<.01) and timing (p<.001) influenced ratings. Psychologists reported fewer sexualized behaviors than physicians (p<05). Professional experience (p<.01) and (...) sex (p<.05) were associated with confidence-violating behavior. Overall, 78% of the sample reported attitudes or behaviors associated with boundary violations. The behavior violations were correlated (r=.49). Actual violators rated vignette violators more leniently than did nonviolators (p<.01). (shrink)
The corporatization of U.S. health care has directed cost containment efforts toward scrutinizing the clinical decisions of physicians. This stimulated a variety of new utilization management interventions, particularly in hospital and managed care settings. Recent changes in fee-for-service medicine and physicians' traditional agency relationships with patients, purchasers, and insurers are examined here. New information systems monitoring of physician ordering behavior has already begun to impact on physician autonomy and the relationship of physicians to provider organizations in both (...) for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. As managed care practice settings proliferate, serious ethical questions will be raised about agency relationships with patients.This article examines health system dynamics altering the historical agency relationship between the physician and patient and eroding the traditional autonomy of the medical profession in the United States. The corporatization of medicine and the accompanying information systems monitoring of physician productivity is seen to account of such change, now posing serious ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
Background Post-September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has labeled thousands of Afghan war detainees "unlawful combatants". This label effectively deprives these detainees of the protection they would receive as "prisoners of war" under international humanitarian law. Reports have emerged that indicate that thousands of detainees being held in secret military facilities outside the United States are being subjected to questionable "stress and duress" interrogation tactics by U.S. authorities. If true, American military physicians could be inadvertently becoming complicit in detainee (...) abuse. Moreover, the American government's openly negative views towards such detainees could result in military physicians not wanting to provide reasonable care to detainees, despite it being their ethical duty to do so. Discussion This paper assesses the physician's obligations to treat war detainees in the light of relevant instruments of international humanitarian law and medical ethics. It briefly outlines how detainee abuse flourished in apartheid South Africa when state physicians became morally detached from the interests of their detainee patients. I caution U.S physicians not to let the same mindset befall them. I urge the U.S. medical community to advocate for detainee rights in the U.S, regardless of the political culture the detainee emerged from. I offer recommendations to U.S physicians facing dual loyalty conflicts of interest in the "war on terror". Summary If U.S. physicians are faced with a conflict of interest between following national policies or international principles of humanitarian law and medical ethics, they should opt to adhere to the latter when treating war detainees. It is important for the U.S. medical community to speak out against possible detainee abuse by the U.S. government. (shrink)
At the request of the Midwest Bioethics Center (MBC), we surveyed nurses' and physicians' attitudes and needs regarding Hospital Ethics Committees (HECs). The primary objective of this research project was to inform the practices and policies of the Ethics Committee Consortium of the Bioethics Center.Four thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine surveys were distributed to the medical and nursing staff of eight Kansas City metropolitan area hospitals. One thousand and fifty-five surveys were returned, representing a response rate of 21%.
This paper examines the moral responsibilities of physicians, toward themselves and their colleagues, their students and patients, and society, in terms of the nature and exercise of professional self-regulation. Some of the author's close encounters with cases involving research misconduct, behavioral impairment or deviance, and medical practice at the moral margin, are described to illustrate why, in Freidson's words, physicians are a delinquent community with respect to the ways they meet their responsibility to govern the competence and conduct (...) of their members. (shrink)
Research studies demonstrate wide variation in how physicians diagnose and treat patients with similar medical conditions and suggest that at least some of the variation reflects inefficiencies and unnecessary medical costs. Health care researchers are actively examining ways to reduce variations in practice through standardization of medicine to reduce the cost of treatment and ensure the quality of outcomes. The most widely accepted form of this standardization is Evidence Based Best Practices (EBBP). Furthermore, financial health care providers such as (...) hospitals and managed care organizations are investigating methods to tie resource usage to medical protocols in their efforts to monitor and control health care costs. Such proposals are contentious because they report on physicians’ medical practice behaviors (such as the number of tests ordered, use of specific therapies, etc.) and such reports could potentially be used to influence their clinical behaviors. The intent of this exploratory study was to examine physicians’ perceptions about linking a standard costing system to EBBP guidelines. The authors interviewed nine practicing physicians asking each physician to respond to the question, ‘As a physician working in a hospital environment, what are your reactions to and concerns with combining standard costing techniques with EBBP?’ The interviews were in-depth and free form in nature. The physicians’ responses were recorded and analyzed using Grounded Theory Methodology. Using this methodology the field data was categorized into two major themes. The most important theme centered on ethics and the second theme was concerned with the implementation and use of a standard cost system in regard to EBBP. If physicians’ worries about ethical dilemmas and implementation issues are not resolved, then it is likely that doctors would be unwilling to participate in any efforts to develop or use a standard cost-reporting system in medicine. While this study was exploratory in nature, it should provide future guidance to accountants, health care researchers and health care providers about physicians’ issues with the use of standard costing methods in medicine. (shrink)
The goal of this paper was to assess whether, given the opportunity, physicians/researchers would try to profit (by trading stocks) from information that only they were made privy to. The Annual ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Conference, the largest annual oncology conference, provided the perfect venue to fully explore this question. Up until 2008, ASCO abstracts were released exclusively to ASCO members (i.e., physicians, oncologists) two weeks prior to the conference, and many speculated about unusual trading patterns (...) during these two weeks. In 2008, in response to concerns about such illicit activities, ASCO changed this policy (by distributing these abstracts instead to the general public). We decided to take a closer look at these trading patterns to determine the true impact of ASCO's 2008 decision and whether the differences prior to and following 2008 reveal something about the likelihood of physicians/researchers to profit from “privileged information.”. (shrink)
The ethical ideologies of psychologists (who provide health services) and physicians were compared using the Ethics Position Questionnaire. The findings reveal that psychologists tend to be less relativistic than physicians. Further, we explored the degree to which physicians and psychologists report being influenced by a variety of factors (e.g., family views) in their ethical decision making. Psychologists were more influenced by their code of ethics and less influenced by family views, religious background, and peer attitudes than were (...)physicians. We argue that these differences reflect the varied professional cultures in which practitioners are trained and socialized. (shrink)
The dynamic changes in American health care are significiantly deeper than technological advancement alone. Consumers, physicians, and third party payors are all assuming new roles in the system. The balance of medical control is radically shifting. Unless the three parties come together in a mutual partnership, needed improvements will not occur and what is currently good in the system will be lost. The key to this important partnership is the consumer.
Increasing complexities facing physicians negotiating the bedside decision continue to fuel the debate over who is the appropriate party to offer ethics consults, should one be needed, during the decision-making process. Some very good arguments have been put forth on behalf of clinical ethicists as being the proper and best party to engage in ethics consultations. However, serious questions remain about the role of the clinical ethicist and his ability to provide the necessary level of objectivity called for in (...) an ethics consult.I argue that the clinician's professional psyche, or mode of thinking as a professional, leaves him little room to maneuver as an objective and detached third party ethics consultant. Several factors are cited and discussed that greatly influence the analyses applied to a case problem by physicians. The most formidable of these factors are habits and the practice of defensive medicine. I conclude that clinical ethicists are less suited for the overall tasks required of an objective consultant in medical cases that appear to involve insurmountable ethical issues. (shrink)
Few studies exist which look at psychological factors associated with physician sexual misconduct. In this study, we explore family dysfunction as a possible risk factor associated with physician sexual misconduct. Six hundred thirteen physicians referred to a continuing medical education (CME) course for sexual misconduct were administered the FACES-II survey, a validated and reliable measure of family dynamics. The survey was part of a self-learning activity. We collected data from February 2000 to February 2009. Participants were predominantly white, middle-aged (...) males who represented the full range of medical specialties. Their results were compared against a sample of 177 physicians. The FACES-II is a self-report test that measures family of origin (the family in which one was raised) dynamics on two dimensions (1) flexibility, ranging from too flexible (chaotic) to not flexible enough (rigid) and (2) cohesion ranging from too close (enmeshed) to not close enough (disengaged). The most common family pattern observed among physicians accused of sexual misconduct was rigid flexibility paired with disengaged cohesion, indicative of unhealthy family functioning. This pattern was significantly different than the pattern observed in the comparison group. Physicians who engage in sexual misconduct are more likely to have family of origin dysfunction. Ethics is developmental and learned in one’s family of origin. Family of origin dynamics may be one risk factor predisposing one to ethical violations. These findings have important implications for screening, education, and treatment across the medical education continuum. (shrink)
Background Evidence concerning how Japanese physicians think and behave in specific clinical situations that involve withholding or withdrawal of medical interventions for end-of-life or frail elderly patients is yet insufficient. Methods To analyze decisions and actions concerning the withholding/withdrawal of life-support care by Japanese physicians, we conducted cross-sectional web-based internet survey presenting three scenarios involving an elderly comatose patient following a severe stroke. Volunteer physicians were recruited for the survey through mailing lists and medical journals. The respondents (...) answered questions concerning attitudes and behaviors regarding decision-making for the withholding/withdrawal of life-support care, namely, the initiation/withdrawal of tube feeding and respirator attachment. Results Of the 304 responses analyzed, a majority felt that tube feeding should be initiated in these scenarios. Only 18% felt that a respirator should be attached when the patient had severe pneumonia and respiratory failure. Over half the respondents felt that tube feeding should not be withdrawn when the coma extended beyond 6 months. Only 11% responded that they actually withdrew tube feeding. Half the respondents perceived tube feeding in such a patient as a "life-sustaining treatment," whereas the other half disagreed. Physicians seeking clinical ethics consultation supported the withdrawal of tube feeding (OR, 6.4; 95% CI, 2.5–16.3; P < 0.001). Conclusion Physicians tend to harbor greater negative attitudes toward the withdrawal of life-support care than its withholding. On the other hand, they favor withholding invasive life-sustaining treatments such as the attachment of a respirator over less invasive and long-term treatments such as tube feeding. Discrepancies were demonstrated between attitudes and actual behaviors. Physicians may need systematic support for appropriate decision-making for end-of-life care. (shrink)
The death penalty by lethal injection is a legal punishment in the United States. Sodium Thiopental, once used in the death penalty cocktail, is no longer available for use in the United States as a consequence of this association. Anesthesiologists possess knowledge of Sodium Thiopental and possible chemical alternatives. Further, lethal injection has the look and feel of a medical act thereby encouraging physician participation and comment. Concern has been raised that the death penalty by lethal injection, is cruel. (...) class='Hi'>Physicians are ethically directed to prevent cruelty within the doctor-patient relationship and ethically prohibited from participation in any component of the death penalty. The US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is not cruel per se and is not in conflict with the 8th amendment of the US constitution. If the death penalty is not cruel, it requires no further refinement. If, on the other hand, the death penalty is in fact cruel, physicians have no mandate outside of the doctor patient relationship to reduce cruelty. Any intervention in the name of cruelty reduction, in the setting of lethal injection, does not lead to a more humane form of punishment. If physicians contend that the death penalty can be botched, they wrongly direct that it can be improved. The death penalty cocktail, as a method to reduce suffering during execution, is an unverifiable claim. At best, anesthetics produce an outward appearance of calmness only and do not address suffering as a consequence of the anticipation of death on the part of the condemned. (shrink)
American physicians are increasingly concerned that they are losing professional control. Other analysts of medical power argue that physicians have too much power. This essay argues that current analyses are grounded in a structuralist reading of power. Deploying Michel Foucault's "care of the self" and rhetorician Raymie McKerrow's "critical rhetoric," this essay claims that medical power is better understood as a way that medical actors take on power through rhetoric rather than a force that has power over medical (...) actors. Through a close reading of an essay by Senator Bill Frist, this paper argues that physicians experience a process of "subjection" wherein they are both agents of and objects of medical power as it is combined with state and corporate power in the American "war on terror." This alternative mode of analyzing medical power has implications for our collective understanding of its operations and the means by which we propose alternative enactments of medical power. (shrink)
Managed care employs two business tools of managed practice that raise important ethical issues: paying physicians in ways that impose conflicts of interest on them; and regulating physicians' clinical judgment, decision making, and behavior. The literature on the clinical ethics of managed care has begun to develop rapidly in the past several years. Professional organizations of physicians have made important contributions to this literature. The statements on ethical issues in managed care of four such organizations are considered (...) here, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Three themes common to these statements are identified and critically assessed: the primacy of meeting the medical needs of each individual patient; disclosure of conflicts of interest in how physicians are paid; and opposition to gag orders. The paper concludes with an argument for a basic concept in the clinical ethics of managed care: physicians and institutions as economically disciplined moral co-fiduciaries of populations of patients. (shrink)
Empirical research has proven the influence exerted by the medical industry on physicians’ decision-making. Physicians are the gatekeepers who determine how money is spent within the healthcare system. Hence, they are the target group of powerful lobbies in the field, i.e. the manufacturers of medical devices and the pharmaceutical industry. As clinical research lies in the hands of physicians, they play an exclusive and central role in launching new medical products. There are many ethical problems involved here: (...)physicians may develop a mindset of entitlement; biased decisions may put patients at risk; academic interests and research activities will no longer be free if they are influenced considerably by financial incentives; fair resource allocation may be restricted. An aspect that has been neglected so far is the administrators’ involvement as they not rarely expect physicians to acquire external financial resources from industry as benefits often lie with the institutions. To “protect” physicians from undue sway may be in the best interest of patients in order to guarantee a fair allocation of resources and to prevent the application of technologies (and medications) that would not have been used according to current standards of care. The latter may and obviously does put patients at risk. On the other hand, medico-industrial relations are of great importance. A considerable part of medical progress is driven by private industry. Yet, any co-operation between those who care for patients and industry ultimately has to serve the patient. Hence, strong policies to guide conduct are sorely needed. The following points are held to be pivotal in order to secure ethical conduct: (1) professional codes of ethics; (2) a stronger academic attitude amongst medical staff, (3) rules of transparency for medico-industrial relations including online disclosure and limiting scale of payments, (4) establishing rules (and laws) that ban unethical conduct and mandate vigorous surveillance of adherence to guidelines. (shrink)
Physicians often struggle with ethical issues surrounding intervention in their relatives’ health care. Many editorials, letters, and surveys have been written on this topic, but there is no systematic review of its prevalence. An Ovid Medline search was conducted for articles in English, written between January 1950 and December 2010, using the key words family member, relatives, treatment, prescribing, physician, and ethics. The search identified 41 articles (editorials, letters, and surveys). Surveys were reviewed to explore demographics of these treating (...)physicians and reasons for and against intervention. Physicians often intervene directly or indirectly in the health care of relatives. The most common reasons were convenience, cost savings, and the perception of having greater knowledge or concern than colleagues. Lost objectivity, fear of misdiagnosis, and inability to provide complete care were the main considerations against intervention. The characteristics of treating doctors were nonspecific. Most surveys recommend against this practice except for emergencies or minor ailments. This review included only a few surveys with small sample size and only assessed scientific literature written in English after 1950. Survey data may be biased by physicians’ self-reporting. In conclusion, most doctors occasionally intervene in their relatives’ care. The decision to do so is determined by multiple factors. Physicians should treat only short-term or minor illnesses within their scope of practice. Future research should evaluate doctors’ attitudes toward their relatives, medical student feelings about treating family, and intervention frequencies of medical and nonmedical professionals. (shrink)
This essay examines the claim that physicians have a special obligation to engage in social and political activism. Four ethical paradigms are considered. Two paradigms, the preventive medicine and the social medicine models, embody a limited professional obligation to advocate the priority of health in society; the justification for a more aggressive stance is limited by the failings of paternalism. The radical model and the heroic model speak to issues of personal virtue rather than professional obligation; they are not (...) strictly comparable. (shrink)
This study examines the public's and physicians' willingness to support deception of insurance companies in order to obtain necessary healthcare services and how this support varies based on perceptions of physicians' time pressures. Based on surveys of 700 prospective jurors and 1617 physicians, the public was more than twice as likely as physicians to sanction deception (26% versus 11%) and half as likely to believe that physicians have adequate time to appeal coverage decisions (22% versus (...) 59%). The odds of public support for deception compared to that of physicians rose from 2.48 to 4.64 after controlling for differences in time perception. These findings highlight the ethical challenge facing physicians and patients in balancing patient advocacy with honesty in the setting of limited societal resources. (shrink)
This Report examines the ethical implications of electronic communication, focusing on the use of electronic mail (e-mail), considers its impact on a previously established patient-physician relationship, and the limitations in using e-mail to create a new patient-physician relationship. In its recommendations, this report offers guidance to physicians who use electronic mail to communicate with patients and online users. These guidelines maintain that e-mail should not be used to establish a patient-physician relationship, but rather to supplement personal encounters. When using (...) e-mail, physicians hold the same ethical responsibilities to their patients as they do during other encounters and that information must be presented in a manner that meets professional standards. The report requires that physicians notify patients of e-mail's inherent limitations and that patients be given the opportunity to accept these limitations prior to the communication of privileged information. Finally, physicians should be aware of privacy and confidentiality concerns when using e-mail to communicate with patients. (shrink)
This paper involves a case study of physicians working in an urban Midwestern region. It raises questions surrounding how physicians adapted to, encouraged and resisted the increasing presence of managed care in their work lives. The patterning of physician accommodation to managed care and the failure of physicians to mount any effective organized resistance in Metro has some important implications for theories about professional dominance and decline.
Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians is a concise and practical guide to ethical decision-making in medicine. The text is aimed at second- and third-year one-semester ethics courses offered in medical schools, health sciences departments, and nursing programs. By taking an applied approach rather than a theoretical approach, this text serves the needs of medical and nursing students, residents, and practicing physicians by sorting through questions of moral principles relevant to the diverse (...) and growing number of healthcare professionals. The many topics covered include truth telling, refusal of treatment, assisted suicide, managing error, and reproductive choice. (shrink)
This article presents results from an empirical investigation of the role and importance of ethics in the daily work of Danish oncologyphysicians and Danish molecular biologists. The study is based on 12 semi-structured interviews with three groups of respondents: a group of oncology physicians working in a clinic at a public hospital and two groups of molecular biologists conducting basic research, one group employed at a public university and the other in a private biopharmaceutical company.We found that oncology (...) class='Hi'>physicians consider ethical evaluation as part of their daily work. They discuss how to treat patients in groups and they have interdisciplinary seminars. In contrast, molecular biologists employed at the university do not think that basic research causes significant ethical problems, they do not talk about ethics in their daily work and they do not want to prioritise seminars on ethics. Molecular biologists employed in a private biopharmaceutical company do not think that basic research causes significant ethical problems, but the private company prioritises ethical evaluation. If the company behaves unethical, they will be punished by the consumers and by the investors in the last end. In general, oncology physicians working in the clinic experience a closer relationship between their daily work and ethical problems concerning human beings than molecular biologists conducting basic research. (shrink)
Raymond Chandler, the creator of legendary detective Philip Marlowe and the recipient of increasing literary admiration over the past 40 years, used numerous physicians as minor characters in his novels and short stories. The presence of physicians as minor characters in Chandler's work, though unnoticed by previous critics, is illustrative both of the writer's personal antipathy towards medical doctors and larger societal forces which left medical charlatans free to open clinics. Chandler's own chronic health problems and those of (...) his wife Cissy may have contributed to the writer's negative attitude toward medicine and heath care, though little is known of Chandler's personal interactions with physicians prior to his death in 1959. (shrink)
(2013). Is the Principle of Proportionality Sufficient to Guide Physicians’ Decisions Regarding Withholding/Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment After Suicide Attempts? The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 22-24. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2013.760967.
This is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the history of understanding of the human mind or soul and its relationship to the body, through the course of more than two thousand years. Thirteen specially commissioned chapters, each written by a recognized expert, discuss such figures as the doctors Hippocrates and Galen, the theologians St Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, and philosophers from Plato to Leibniz.
Highlighting early modern medicine's program of explanation and intervention, I claim that there are two distinctive features of the physician's naturalism. These are, first, an explicit recognition that each patient had her own individual and highly particularized nature and, second, a self-conscious use of normative descriptions when characterizing a patient's nature as healthy (ordered) or unhealthy (disordered). I go on to maintain that in spite of the well documented Cartesian rejection of Aristotelian natures in favor of laws of nature, Descartes (...) and his most important medical disciple accepted both features of the physician's naturalism where human medicine was concerned. Thus, in this article I critically engage with standard portraits of Cartesianism and naturalism by integrating the histories of science, medicine and philosophy, but especially medicine and philosophy. (shrink)
Palliative care and hospice should be the standards of care for all terminally ill patients. The first place for clinicians to go when responding to a request for assisted death is to ensure the adequacy of palliative interventions. Although such interventions are generally effective, a small percentage of patients will suffer intolerably despite receiving state-of-the-art palliative care, and a few of these patients will request a physician-assisted death. Five potential “last resort” interventions are available under these circumstances: (1) accelerating opioids (...) for pain or dyspnea; (2) stopping potentially life-prolonging therapies; (3) voluntarily stopping eating and drinking; (4) palliative sedation (potentially to unconsciousness); and (5) physician-assisted death. Patient, family, and clinicians should search for the least harmful way to respond to intolerable end-of-life suffering in ways that are effective and also respect the values of the major participants. A system that allows an open response to such cases ultimately protects patients by ensuring a full clinical evaluation and search for alternative responses, while reinforcing the need to be responsive and to not abandon. (shrink)
Background -- Overview of legal sources -- Summary of recent prosecutions and investigations -- Applications of law and professional and trade association standards to physician relationships with industry -- Legal and ethical aspects of specific physician's industry financial relationships -- Approaching and adopting effective compliance plans.
This essay discusses the issue of informed consent as it relates not only to physician duty but also to patient duty. The author is particularly concerned with the possibility of battery charges against the physician unless a clear patient duty is articulated. In summary, the author concludes that we can prevent doctors from being forced to commit battery in a way which allows them to make reasonable choices for their patients without being open to the charge of having committed battery. (...) At the same time, we would not allow doctors to abuse this privelege. (shrink)
Many western industrialized countries are currently suffering from a crisis in health human resources, one that involves a debate over the recruitment and licensing of foreign-trained doctors and nurses. The intense public policy interest in foreign-trained medical personnel, however, is not new. During the 1960s, western countries revised their immigration policies to focus on highly-trained professionals. During the following decade, hundreds of thousands of health care practitioners migrated from poorer jurisdictions to western industrialized countries to solve what were then deemed (...) to be national doctor and nursing 'shortages' in the developed world. Migration plummeted in the 1980s and 1990s only to re-emerge in the last decade as an important debate in global health care policy and ethics. This paper will examine the historical antecedents to this ethical debate. It will trace the early articulation of the idea of a 'brain drain', one that emerged from the loss of NHS doctors to other western jurisdictions in the 1950s and 1960s. Only over time did the discussion turn to the 'manpower' losses of 'third world countries', but the inability to track physician migration, amongst other variables, muted any concerted ethical debate. By contrast, the last decade's literature has witnessed a dramatically different ethical framework, informed by globalization, the rise of South Africa as a source donor country, and the ongoing catastrophe of the AIDS epidemic. Unlike the literature of the early 1970s, recent scholarship has focussed on a new framework of global ethics. (shrink)
Competency to be executed evaluations are conducted with a clear understanding that no physician-patient relationship exists. Treatment however, is not so neatly re-categorized in large measure because it involves the physician's active provision of the healing arts. A natural tension exists between what practices may be legally permissible and what are ethically acceptable. We present an overview of the existing positions on this matter in the process of framing our argument.
Contemporary cost containment measures ignore patients' need for privacy, destroy long-term doctor-patient relationships, and demand ethical and standard of care compromises.Economic considerations have distracted the physician and he/she no longer focuses primarily on the patient's welfare. The superficiality of the doctor-patient relationship and the cost-cutting efforts have jointly contributed to the deterioration of the quality of medical care.
Relationships between self-ratings and expectations of an ideal U.S. president, were studied in 43 men drawn from a university setting in the eastern coast of the U.S.A. The men first rated themselves on personality variables, life choices (agentic and communal), peacefulness, spirituality, and morality. Then they were presented with a vignette requesting that they describe an ideal U.S. president on inventories measuring personality variables, life choices, peacefulness, spirituality, and morality. For the rating of the ideal U.S. president, they also were (...) asked to respond to a 20 item questionnaire that was a composite of several factors on organization and leadership, morality, spirituality, and peacefulness. The respondents belonged to one of seven different political persuasions, similar in some ways to different cultures. Self-ratings of the men and expectations of the president were highly correlated for extraversion, openness, trait morality, agentic and communal life choices. However, no significant correlations were found between the self-ratings and expectations of the president for neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, peacefulness, nor state morality. The men were also presented with vignettes for the ideal physician and ideal automechanic and asked to rate each of them on the inventory items. Overall, the U.S. President was rated as more neurotic and immoral in terms of ingrained ideas of right and wrong, but also as more caring for others, transcendent, seeking goodness and truth, forgiving, cooperative, and most concerned with matters of justice and mercy, and more concerned with both agentic (power-seeking) and communal (community-minded) life choices than were either the ideal physician or ideal automechanic. The ideal physician was rated as highest in extra-version, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and overall peacefulness, and lowest in neuroticism. The ideal automechanic was rated as highest in state or situational immorality, and lowest in both agentic (power-seeking, business-mindedness) and communal (community-mindedness) life choices, and also lowest in caring for others well-being, transcendence, seeking goodness and truth, forgiveness and cooperation, being concerned with justice and mercy, overall expectations, overall spirituality, and overall organization and leadership. In general, the self-ratings were significantly related to ratings/expectations, of the U.S. President, ideal physician, and ideal automechanic. The men seemed to identify more with the automechanic than with the present or physician. (shrink)
This short work examines what the Hippocratic Oath said to Greek physicians 2400 years ago and reflects on its relevance to medical ethics today. Drawing on the writings of ancient physicians, Greek playwrights, and modern scholars, each chapter explores one passage of the Oath and concludes with a modern case discussion. This book is for anyone who loves medicine and is concerned about the ethics and history of the profession.
The American Medical Association enacted its Code of Ethics in 1847, the first such national codification. In this volume, a distinguished group of experts from the fields of medicine, bioethics, and history of medicine reflect on the development of medical ethics in the United States, using historical analyses as a springboard for discussions of the problems of the present, including what the editors call "a sense of moral crisis precipitated by the shift from a system of fee-for-service medicine to a (...) system of fee-for-system medicine, better known as 'managed care.'" The authors begin with a look at how the medical profession began to consider ethical issues in the 1800s and subsequent developments in the 1900s. They then address the sociological, historical, ethical, and legal aspects of the practice of medicine. Later chapters discuss current and future challenges to medical ethics and professional values. Appendixes display various versions of the AMA's Code of Ethics as it has evolved over time. Contributors: George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ph.D., Robert B. Baker, Ph.D., Chester R. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Alexander Morgan Capron, J.D., Christine K. Cassel, M.D., Linda L. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot L. Freidson, Ph.D., Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D., Stephen R. Latham, J.D., Ph.D., Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Florencia Luna, Ph.D., Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Charles E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Mark Siegler, M.D., Rosemary A. Stevens, Ph.D., Robert M. Tenery, Jr., M.D., Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., John Harley Warner, Ph.D., Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. (shrink)
The topic of professionalism has dominated the content of major academic medicine publications (e.g. Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Academic Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, The Lancet) during the past decade and continues to do so. The message of this current wave of professionalism is that medical educators need to be more attentive to the moral sensibilities of trainees, to their interpersonal and affective dimensions, and to their social conscience, all to the end of (...) skilled, humanistic physicians. Urgent calls to address professionalism from such groups as the Association of American Medical Colleges (representing the nation's 126 accredited medical schools and nearly 400 major teaching hospitals), the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, among others. In fact, at the 2004 annual meeting of the AAMC six separate presentations addressed professionalism with such titles as "Evaluating Humanism and Professionalism," Professionalism: Expectation, Education, Evaluation," or "Toward Assessing Professional Behaviors of Medical Students through Peer Observations" (note the preoccupation with assessment). Professionalism, then, has become part of the current academic medicine parlance, used by administrators, clinical faculty, residency programs, and professional organizations with an expectation of shared meanings and goals. All of these stakeholders focus on what has become a consistent list of attributes deemed to be the essence of professionalism, which usually include variations on altruism, duty, excellence, honor and integrity, accountability, and respect. In fact, most of the scholarly work to date has been listing (attributes of professionalism), describing (activities that may foster it), decrying (the environment that works against it), and measuring/evaluating it. In this collection of essays, we don’t argue with these attributes. Instead, we ask questions of the discourse from which they arise, how the specialized language of academic medicine disciplines has defined, organized, contained, and made seemingly immutable a group of attitudes, values, and behaviors subsumed under the label "professional" or "professionalism." This collection aims to be a critical text, one that questions the profession’s beliefs about the nature of its work and how such beliefs are enacted (or not) in medical education, particularly as they fuel the professionalism discourse. In addition, we will scrutinize how the discourse is enacted in both the formal and hidden curriculum, and in the larger medical environment. (shrink)
Although psychiatry is interested in what both body and mind contribute to behavior, it sometimes emphasizes one more than the other. Since the early 1980s, American psychiatry has shifted its interest from mind and psyche to body and brain. Neuroscience and psychopharmacology are increasingly at the core of psychiatry. Some experts claim that psychiatry is no longer interested in problems in living and positive goals such as mental health, happiness, and morality but rather has narrowed its focus to mental disorders (...) addressed with psychotropic drugs. In view of this trend, psychiatry needs to confront two questions in social philosophy. If it is no longer directly concerned with health and happiness, how does it relate to these positive goals? And how does it relate as a medical institution to religious institutions, schools, and other organizations that directly promote health, happiness, morality, and the purposes of life? It is not enough for psychiatry to renounce its moral role; its practices still shape cultural values. Psychiatry should take more responsibility for developing a public philosophy that addresses these issues. (shrink)
The legalization of euthanasia, both in the Netherlands and in other countries is usually justified in reference to the right to autonomy of patients. Utilizing recent Dutch jurisprudence, this article intends to show that the judicial proceedings on euthanasia in the Netherlands have not so much enhanced the autonomy of patients, as the autonomy of the medical profession. Keywords: allowing to die, criminal law, euthanasia, law enforcement, legal aspects, legislation, medical ethics, medical profession, self determination, the Netherlands, voluntary euthanasia, withholding (...) treatment CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)