Doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners should understand their rights and practice accordingly. There are a number of ethical rules for
medical practitioners, and understanding these principles will help individuals avoid legal claims.
Of course, most medical practitioners will still face a patient claim at some point or another. And medical malpractice lawsuits are a headache! If you’re not up for dealing with a claim, consider an alternative career; you might consider, for example, speech pathology employment opportunities. Then again, no profession is completely safe from potential claims.
That being said, it still helps to know the basics of medical ethics, which you will most certainly cover in medical school. For example, it’s okay to treat family members, if you’d like. However, if you choose to do so, you must be careful to avoid a conflict of interest.
In some cases, conflicts of interest are difficult to avoid. Still, physicians should do their best to avoid such situations. One obvious and well-known concern is that of sexual relationships. Doctors who enter relationships with patients risk prosecution and may lose their license to practice.
Pharmaceutical marketing also presents an ethical dilemma for physicians. Doctors who receive gifts or income from drug companies or medical testing companies may be engaging in unethical behavior.
A more complicated ethical concern involves the question of futility. If the chance that a patient will survive is less than 1%, should the doctor continue trying? There is no clear law to answer this question, which is why many of these cases end up in discussion among lawyers. It’s important to know your rights as a medical practitioner, so that you can do your best to stay out of the courtroom!