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Principles of Healthcare Ethics, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 759

Essay

Introduction

In general terms the concept of ethics relates to how we conduct ourselves from a moralistic, obligatory and virtuous standpoint.   Whereas personal ethics are more in keeping with our personal values and commitments to others, professional ethics tends to be more holistic by nature and relates to those standards we uphold in our professional lives.  In certain professions these can be very serious and have life threatening consequences i.e. Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, etc.

It is fair to say that everybody, leastwise in Western democracies, has both freedom of expression and the right of choice.  As such this can be morally bad or good.  In theory we are all bound by the law of the land and as such our interpretation and application of these laws will vary according to our own moral standards.  If you are an educated person with a relatively affluent upbringing you are more likely to respect and uphold the law. In this case the laws seem much more pertinent to your position and role in life.  If you are a poor person with no education and forced to survive in the streets of a City, then your ethics are much likely to be tuned more towards survivalism as opposed to upholding the common law.

Ethics In Healthcare

It is estimated that some 47 million residents of the USA are without health insurance.  As employees continue to try and shift the burden to individuals, the trend is set to increase.  As such, this creates a vicious circle where the average Americans continue to struggle with escalating health costs and adequate coverage.  The most successful of all the health care programs, i.e. Medicare is under increasing attack for lack about the service provision.  This particularly impacting the over 65 group that rely on Medicare for health support.  The question posed then is are all individuals entitled to healthcare?

Key drivers in forming the need for improved ethical practices include:

  • The number of uninsured American citizens has increased to over 45 million people
  • The escalating costs of health coverage is made health care become unaffordable for both individuals and businesses in the USA.
  • America cannot afford to have its working populace unable to afford adequate health coverage. America already has the highest levels of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease in the world.
  • It is considered that there is a moral obligation to provide a citizen with universal health coverage

The Need For Ethical Training

Ethical training should form an important part of a health care administration training program.  Your ethical style is influenced by your professional responsibility with a strong sense of service, commitment to duty and sense of loyalty. Your style is one of personal self-development and advocating policies for equal respect of others. This respects the freedom of choice of other individuals and this being in accordance with established belief precedents of right and wrong.

You face a certain degree of frustration with some ethical dilemmas.  Often a conflict between personal choice and the duty of organizational instruction. This means weighing the balance of ethical considerations but maintaining the moral and ethical duty in order to achieve the right thing.  This leaves little room for compromise in decision making.  The law is not always black and white and determining the shades of grey often poses ethical challenges. Training for health practitioners is a vital ingredient of their job function.

Ethical Conflicts

One personal example relates to that of my brother-in-law who was fired for looking up his own medical card at work.  In theory you should have freedom of access to information and as such the ability to see your own retained medical record. Perhaps the correct ethical protocol would have been to request permission first as opposed to being underhanded and doing this in a clandestine manner. It also opened up the question and possibility that he was looking at other peoples confidential medical records.  The latter would most certainly have been a dismissible offence.

Topic For Individual Ethical Analysis

The topic I have selected related to that of a paralysed accident victim who seeks the right to terminate his life [http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/110948384.html] . This creates the ethical dilemma of assisted suicide which has been a subject of extreme controversy over the last decade.  Do people have the right to terminate their lives if they have no quality of life, in a vegetative state or have a terminal illness that is deteriorating and has eliminated any reasonable chance of a normal life.  The ethical questions surround morality, religion, medical and psychological perspectives. Ultimately, perhaps it simply translates to individual personal freedoms and an individual’s right to terminate his/her life..

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