Medical ethics has properly gained a foothold in the public square. There is a national conversation about euthanasia, stem cell research, fertilization and embryo implantation techniques, end-of-life care, prenatal diagnosis of serious diseases, defining death to facilitate organ donation, cloning and financial conflicts of interest. Nearly every day, we read (or click) on a headline highlighting one of these or similar ethical controversies. These great issues hover over us.
We physicians face ethical dilemmas every day in the mundane world of our medical practices. They won’t appear in your newspapers or pop up on your smartphones, but they are real and they are important. Here is a sampling from the everyday ethical smorgasbord that your doctor faces. How would you act under the following scenarios?
– A physician has one appointment slot remaining on his schedule. Two patients have called requesting this same day appointment. The first patient who called has no insurance and owes the practice money. The second patient has medical insurance coverage. Neither patient is seriously ill. Who should get the appointment?
– Two hours before a doctor is to see a patient, her husband calls to relate private information that he fears the patient will not share with the physician. Should the physician disclose this conversation to the patient? What is the risk if she discovers at a later time that a confidential conversation occurred? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*