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Medical Ethics and Physician-Patient Encounters: Case Studies and Best Practices

July 5, 2017

A comatose, ventilator-dependent, car accident victim lies in an intensive care unit while her husband and her parents discuss her future quality of life and argue about what type of care she would have wanted. This scenario may initially come to mind when the average person hears the term medical ethics. However, the concept of medical ethics is much more common in everyday practice than a dramatic ICU clash is.

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Filed under: Medical Ethics, Patient Relationship, Physician, Article

Ethical Dilemmas With Disclosing Medical Errors

July 5, 2017

In the U.S., there is broad ethical consensus supporting disclosure of known medical errors, but even so, the physician who must acknowledge a mistake faces a daunting situation. Disclosing medical errors is the theme of this physician-patient interaction resulting in a medical liability lawsuit.

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Filed under: Medical Ethics, Patient Relationship, Unanticipated Outcomes, Medical Errors & Apology, Physician, Case Study, Ophthalmology

Improper Informed Consent Leads to Allegation of Negligent Supervision

July 5, 2017

In this interaction, the involved physicians avoided disclosing important information to the patient during the informed consent process. An informed consent exchange that is not truthful and complete violates standards of medical ethics.

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Filed under: Medical Ethics, Patient Relationship, Informed Consent, Physician, Case Study

Medical Ethics Issues with Shared Decision-Making in Patient Encounters

July 5, 2017

The pediatrician in this interaction worked to build a therapeutic alliance with the mother of her minor patient. The mother responded. Later, the mother’s anxiety for her son’s condition caused her to discount the shared decision-making process and to cast blame on the pediatrician. The pediatrician’s documentation of her discussions with the mother clarified the events in this case, helping to get the lawsuit dismissed.

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Filed under: Medical Ethics, Patient Relationship, Case Study, Physician, Pediatrics, Family Practice

Cultural Bias and Inflexibility Impedes Communication and Contributes to Poor Outcomes

July 5, 2017

In this interaction, a patient’s ethnic background and limited English proficiency obstructed her care. Instead of taking steps to facilitate communication, the physician continued only with his established treatment plan and methods, failing to appreciate the value of the patient’s contribution to or understanding of her care. This contributed to the physician failing to treat the patient fairly and a poor outcome.

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Filed under: Medical Ethics, Patient Relationship, Cultural Competency & Cultural Respect, Physician, Case Study



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