Ethical Issues in the Field of Healthcare

Above all the healthcare industry has a high regard for the issues surrounding their clientele 's welfare: their patients. Doctors, nurses and other professionals who have the ability to affect the health of a patient are all forced to make every day ethical decisions. This influence over a patient’s well-being creates a mandatory need for the creation of an ethics committee for all healthcare organisations. The purpose of the committee is to create a written code of ethics outlining the policies and procedures that will define proper conduct for all employees.

Managing Major Ethical Issues in Healthcare

There are many ethical issues that may arise in regards to a patient’s healthcare. These major issues as well as ways to manage them are as follows:

  • Confidentiality-Protecting private information about patients in the medical field is one of the most important ethical issues that may arise in the healthcare sector. Conversations between a patient and a doctor are strictly confidential, and their access is regulated strictly. An ethics committee will ensure the medical records of its patients are safeguarded. Now they are, thanks to federal and state legislation.

  • Disease transmission -The risk of acquiring a communicable disease from patients posed to doctors and nurses is a concern for those serving on ethical committees. That is particularly true if the health history of a patient is not made available to the providers. While healthcare providers do not want to make the patient uncomfortable by taking obvious protective measures, they still have every right to protect themselves against any pathogens which may spread through direct or indirect contact.

  • Aggressive marketing practices- Certain guidelines, ethics, and standards need to be adhered to when promoting and marketing a hospital’s services. Hospitals are highly unethical to prescribe unnecessary treatment to a patient only for the sake of benefit. The hospital’s primary focus will be patient safety, not marketing campaigns. Ethical committees should also be active in the marketing activities of the facility in some way, so that the result of every marketing campaign is tasteful and genuine.

  • Information provided- among all healthcare ethical problems, this one should never get too much attention. The information provided to advertising companies by a hospital needs to be 100 per cent reliable and truthful. It is important that the hospital advertisements and their services are neither misleading nor false. Again, the wellbeing of patients is paramount.

  • Patient welfare-A doctor , nurse, and every other form of health care professional involved in a patient 's treatment needs to consider their primary motive: safeguarding their patient’s well-being. All personal information must be kept confidential. It is also necessary for the doctors to be frank with their patients. No matter what personal views the health care provider has; a patient should never be discriminated against on the basis of race, income or sex. Such discrimination allegations should be taken very seriously.

  • Elderly patients-Working with advanced-age patients can also present issues with ethical decision-making, because they can not make informed decisions on their own. As a result, the responsibility for making difficult choices is left to their families. When the patient is terminally ill and wishes to end their life to prevent needless pain, this process can be extremely hard. Even if the ethical committee has differences of opinion on these matters, it must stick to correct ethical practice at all times.

  • Terminally ill patients- As with elderly patients, terminally ill patients may have unique expectations regarding the way they want to end their lives. It is very difficult to deal with a problem such as euthanasia, and therefore requires a deep understanding of ethical processes.

  • Sexual harassment-The ethical committee at the health care facility will be very strict on sexual harassment of any sort. There is a chance of incidence not only between a patient and a doctor but between two doctors as well. When these circumstances occur, a branch of ethics called sexual ethics should be involved by the ethical committee, which covers any concerns about sexuality and sexual conduct.

  • Therapies-There are various techniques and therapies that can be performed with a patient or victim to help alleviate any trauma or stress related to an offending incident. There will also be inquiries and enquiries about the accident.

There are a vast array of ethical healthcare issues that may arise in the healthcare field today. It is the responsibility of a hospital’s ethical committee to ensure that all its practitioners are aware of the ethical decision-making principle.