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Is there a law that focuses on the ethics of medicine and of the hospital / doctor department?

Medical Law

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Simona’s Answer

Hello Samira,
When it comes to healthcare professionals, everyone from all types of cultures and moral backgrounds are supposed to share the same common code of medical ethics. This approach is designed to provide every patient with the right care and treatment they deserve. The four basic principles serve as the basis for ethics in the medical industry. From better ethical decisions to noticing unethical practices, these principles have guided medical professionals for years and continue to do so.

The medical industry utilizes four main principles of ethics:
· Autonomy
· Beneficence
· Non-Maleficence
· Justice

All four of these come together to aid healthcare professionals in diagnosing, treating and caring for patients. With every patient and situation, it’s important for medical workers to ensure they follow all four. Autonomy refers to the patient’s rights in regards to their own body. No matter what the medical practitioner believes, the patient has final say about their treatment. Beneficence means medical professionals must do everything they can to provide the best care for a patient. This includes staying current in new medical practices and sharing relevant knowledge with patients so they can decide which course of treatment they prefer. Non-maleficence is essentially “do no harm.” A healthcare professional must carefully analyze decisions to ensure they don’t harm the patient or others. Finally, justice deals with ensuring medical decisions are made fairly. This is often one of the hardest ethical principles. For instance, deciding between two patients who need a heart transplant when only one heart is available.

Even though the extended principles of medical ethics aren’t considered law, they still hold medical professionals accountable to a specific code of conduct. These principles must apply to patients, the general public, fellow professionals and themselves. Overall, the AMA Code Of Medical Ethics states that physicians and medical professionals should always respect the rights of others, continue their education to provide the best care and treatment, provide healthcare to all and always remain professional.

This link will give you the PDF version of the AMA Code of Medical Ethics: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/media-browser/principles-of-medical-ethics.pdf

Hope this helps.

Simona recommends the following next steps:

Note: There is no law for medical ethics but these ethics still hold professionals accountable through the AMA Code of Medical Ethics (PDF)
Read through PDF for additional information and requirements
Use PDF to extend to further research
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Simona, for your advice! I found it very helpful to understand the cross-over between medicine and law. Samira
Thank you comment icon Glad to hear that Samira! Simona Hunt
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Bailey’s Answer

At my hospital we have a case manager/risk manager that deals with all of the hospital ethics issues. They will review charts and help determine if a mistake was made. They know the medical and hospital laws well. Sometimes they even run “root cause analysis” or RCA where they take an incident and talk to every medical profession involved. That might be something you are interested in.
Thank you comment icon Loved reading this, thanks! Samira
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