Whether you’re studying to become a medical office assistant or a dental assistant, one of the most important topics you’ll cover in your health care education is medical ethics. Because patients are often putting their lives in the hands of medical professionals, it’s essential to understand the steps you must take to avoid risks and lawsuits. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Medical Ethics?
Medical ethics is the area of health care focused on the quality of treatment and care that a patient receives. Medical professionals, including medical office assistants, must make the patient’s well-being a top priority and ensure they have the knowledge they need to make the best decisions in regards to their health care. Many medical ethics issues often deal with making moral choices in life and death situations.
Why Is It Important?
To uphold a health care system that puts patients first, it’s important that trust exists between the patient and the medical care provider. A patient must know that their doctors are putting their welfare first and that the risks of misdiagnosis or malpractice are low. For instance, if a doctor is recommending a prescription drug to a patient, the latter must be made aware of all the potential side effects and symptoms and understand why it’s necessary for their treatment.
What are the Basic Principles?
There are a few main principles within the field of medical ethics. Autonomy is the principle that ensures a patient understands all of the risks involved in a procedure and is providing consent with all this knowledge in mind. Beneficence ensures the doctor is assessing a patient’s situation individually before recommending a treatment. Nonmaleficence refers to a doctor avoiding any known risks that could put their patient’s health or life in danger.
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