Professional Ethics in Doctors
The doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of modern medical ethics. It is the basis for the medical professional’s conduct and the single matter that physicians, when polled, say they value the most about medical practice. Medical ethics entered an era of unprecedented change. The rapidity of this change is reflected in the fact that the American College of Physicians has issued a fourth revision of its Ethics Manual in the past ten years. In all these editions one thing however remains constant -the primary welfare of the patient.
To practice medicine as a profession in today’s context is more challenging than in the past. The challenges that a doctor faces today are many fold -from the fast changing technology, conflict of interests due to the involvement of medical insurance, the cultural and religious issues, especially in the practical approach to a treatment which could cause conflict of opinions between the professional and the patient/public.
But what makes up most of the ethical code in the medical profession is that, no matter what happens in the social, political, or cultural area, a universal reality in the predicament of illness imposes obligations on anyone who professes to be a healer. Across history, culture, and nations, people who are ill are vulnerable, dependent, nervous, fearful, and exploitable. They are dependent on the physician’s; clinical knowledge and skill. The physician invites trust and the patient is forced to trust. Fidelity to this trust is the moral compass that must always be the professional’s guide