In a recent survey conducted by WebMD Health Corporation, one of the leading health information in the US, about the ethical issues that physicians face in practicing their profession, reveals that over 10,000 physicians, who responded in the survey, highly regarded that they struggle in making ethical decisions.
According to Dr. Steven Zatz, Executive Vice President, WebMD Professional Services, “What came through loud and clear through this survey is that by and large, doctors try to do what they believe is right. However, the results also highlight the complex ethical issues confronting physicians and their efforts to make appropriate decisions.”
Among the ethical issues that were explored in the survey are end-of-life, pain treatment (prescription of drug), trading organs for transplant and other moral dilemmas that often uphold controversies. Physicians’ judgment on these issues tends to be very critical.
For example, a highly influential patient who is requesting for a prescription of drug to his doctor for personal use without viable reasons, the patient insisted the drug, just because the patient was highly influential and insistently asking for the drug or for whatever reason, should the doctor prescribed a drug that is not helpful but is something that could endanger the life of the patient without proper medical findings?
One ethical decision that a physician could make in the given scenario is that to refuse on prescribing drugs to his patient without proper medical findings. Thus, the nature of ethical decision making will always come down to an individual’s personal values and belief system..
Health care article news released by the University of Iowa in 2005 noted “that doctors and other health care providers need to be able to practice medicine in a way that does not contradict their deepest personal and professional values.”
Ethics is founded within the personal life of every individual. It would only mean that a responsible clinician is someone with high regard for honesty and integrity in performing his duties as a medical practitioner. And yet, making ethical decisions are never an issue to him, rather it is an initiative in doing what is right according to the code of ethics of health providers and the clinician’s personal ethical conduct.