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Liability and Diagnostic Availability, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 344

Essay

The ethical role of a medical professional is complex and can often differ from institution to institution and between nations. However, there are several guidelines that are relatively stable throughout Western medicine and have become increasingly observable across the globe (Zhao 156). Physicians are required to respect and enable patient autonomy, maintain a healthy doctor-patient relationship, communicate consistently, obtain informed consent when possible, and act in the overall best interests of the patient. The failure to inform a patient of available diagnostic procedures can equate to a violation of each listed principle and so courts are correct to support the option to hold a physician liable for such an omission.

A patient or designated representative cannot exercise their right to be autonomous when diagnosis options are withheld by the physician because the doctor will already have had an impact on the decision. Similarly, informed consent could not be obtained without making all applicable information available (Moulton, Benjamin, and King 85). This situation is also a clear example of inadequate communication skills as demonstrated by offending physicians. In addition, should a patient ultimately learn of the omission then the doctor-patient relationship will suffer considerably and possibly irrevocably (Rothstein and Siegal 12).

Each component of an ethical approach to medicine must be scrutinized in order to ensure the quality of service and patient experience in the system. This task is not always easy as the satisfaction of some aspects can cause a deficiency elsewhere. However, in many situations the withholding of diagnostic options can violate several ethical guidelines without the need for a complex analysis. Accordingly, the courts are right to hold offending physicians liable.

Works Cited

Moulton, Benjamin, and Jaime S. King. “Aligning Ethics with Medical Decision‐Making: The Quest for Informed Patient Choice.” The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38.1 (2010): 85-97.

Rothstein, Mark, and Gil Siegal. “Health Information Technology and Physicians’ Duty to Notify Patients of New Medical Developments.” Houston Journal of Health Law and  Policy 12.1 (2012).

Zhao, Xiju. “The new Tort Liability Law and the journey towards informed consent in China.” Medical Law International 12.2 (2012): 156-187.

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