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Medical Ethics: patient and doctor relationship

Medical Ethics: patient and doctor relationship

hospital hallways with healthcare providers

Have you ever watched a medical drama series and been amazed at how doctors and nurses deal with traumatic experiences that patients and families go through? Medical ethics is a set of rules that professionals must learn and follow in order to interact with patients professionally.

What is ethics in healthcare?

Photo | shutterstock

Doctors, nurses, and other clinicians are guided in their delivery of medical care by a set of ethical standards known as medical ethics. It brings together moral convictions—a sense of right and wrong—and a sense of the provider’s obligation to others.

How healthcare professionals handle patients is governed by ethics. Additionally, it offers guidelines for moral conduct in interactions with patients, coworkers, vendors like pharmaceutical firms. Where doctors may receive financial incentives to over- or under-prescribe medications, and business relationships.

Medical drama series portraying healthcare ethics

Grey’s Anatomy

grey's anatomy
Photo | Screen Rant

In the Grey’s Anatomy episode “Train Crash,” a patient by the name of Bonnie was admitted to Seattle Grace following a train crash in which she and a stranger by the name of Tom were both impaled with a pole. Bonnie wasn’t aware of the full extent of her injuries right away. But an MRI revealed that the pole had severed her spinal cord. Tom stands a better chance of surviving this accident.

Bonnie and Tom with a pole pierced through them.
Photo | blogspot

A strong ethical decision is always considered when providing guidance in decision-making involving life and death situations. In this episode, doctors had to decide who would live and who would die. It appears unfair, but they do have to play God in some horrible situations. Healthcare professionals are better able to make considerate, equitable, and effective decisions when they take ethical considerations into account.

The severity of Bonnie’s injuries made it almost certain that she would pass away when the pole was removed. This episode evoked strong emotions because the dying patient was young and engaged. Her life was cut short by a tragic accident, leaving her loved ones just like that.

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Healthcare providers almost always encounter situations like this. Their work does not stop at surgeries, medications, or diagnosis. Doctors are left to deliver bad news to grieving families. The professionalism required along with the ethical standards they adhere to is crucial.

The Good Doctor

Photo | ABC

Let’s talk about the next medical drama episode from The Good Doctor. Dr. Kalu, delighted seeing Celeste, the patient who had lost most of her skin due to third-degree burns. She returned for a consultation five months later, and there was an obvious attraction between the patient and her physician.

doctor Kalu and dorctor Shaun
Photo | WPSU

Dr. Jared Kalu, glad to inform Celeste that he’d be able to remove the fish scales and assured her that she’d “look beautiful.” Later that day, Jared searched the Internet to see how much of a risk he’d be taking if he pursued a romantic relationship with Celeste. He eventually removed himself from her case, delegated any further follow-ups to Shaun, and then asked her out on a date.

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It is unethical for doctors and patients to have romantic or sexual encounters while they are still in a patient-physician relationship. In order to pursue both their romance and their dreams, Dr. Kalu removed himself from being her doctor and left the residency. He handled this situation perfectly ethical.

Photo | Regis College

Because of the nature of healthcare, there will always be ethical conflicts. Professional and moral perspectives on how to treat and communicate with patients will differ among providers. The value of an ethical code is that disagreements can be resolved through respect and communication.

Medical dramas you can watch

This youtube video made by Doctor Mike shows his own ranking of the most accurate medical dramas there is. As a professional doctor himself, I trust his words and enjoy learning from him.

As you can see, not every episode of Medical dramas are accurate or ethical. It’s a drama series, it’s meant to have a juicy plot and I can respect that. What I want you to take away from this, is that it’s always good to be curious and do research on topics you wouldn’t normally learn about.

Patients are at their most vulnerable when seeking medical care. Including to this are families and friends who are worried about the medical procedures. Patients should be treated respectfully and thanked for their trust by healthcare professionals. Empathy, respect and healthy communication is also the physician’s job, and I think that’s really commendable, thus I enjoyed writing this article.

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