Ethical problems arising in a health care system

Updated on September 27, 2021

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Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay 

The medical profession is a noble profession, without a doubt. People trust their doctors and their judgments concerning their health. Though this profession is highly rewarding, it is not without challenges. It is the doctor’s responsibility to guide and make all the necessary arrangements for the treatment of their patients. When utilizing medical facility resources to provide appropriate care, some decisions may cause conflict and complications. 

Regardless of the field, integrity, honesty, confidentiality, and continuous improvement constitute the ethics of the profession. Among ethical dilemmas, honesty and the commitment to regular improvement have more significance for medical professionals because they are responsible for telling the patients about their problems. Medicine is an ever-changing field that requires a medical practitioner to stay updated about new diseases and treatments.

Negligence and malpractice are the two most intolerable ethical problems we must address. Advancements in medicine, economic stress, and patient autonomy are some of the reasons why ethical issues are arising in the health sector. In such a situation, ethical issues are inevitable due to several factors. To gain a better understanding of an ethical dilemma, you must first understand what it means. An unethical act occurs when a medical practitioner has to choose between two morally acceptable or unacceptable options. 

In medical terms, malpractice is the result of negligence or omission that causes injury to a patient. It can occur during diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare services. According to the John Hopkins study, medical error or medical malpractice cause the third-highest number of deaths after cancer and heart disease in the United States. About 15,000 to 19,000 doctors face medical malpractice suits every year. These results indicate that Americans are facing a serious threat. 

How does medical malpractice differ from other types of errors?

An act of medical malpractice must have the following characteristics:

As a general rule, medical workers must adhere to the set medical standards under certain circumstances. The patient has a right to expect these standards to be met. If those standards are compromised, it is deemed negligence. The burden of proving malpractice and negligence rests with the patients since they are the ones who suffer the injury. 

The problem is that negligence alone is not enough to prosecute a medical worker. The patient must prove that the doctor was negligent, and the injury could have been prevented if the doctor had been more attentive and cautious. For a suit to be viable, the damages must be greater than the lawsuit expenses. A patient must prove that malpractice or negligence resulted in a significant loss or damage, such as causing a disability, lost income, hardship or struggle, or significant pain. 

What makes it unethical? And how does it affect?

As a medical professional, you take a Hippocratic Oath upon graduation that it is your responsibility to save the patients’ lives and not put them into danger. Negligence and malpractice not only affect victims but also negatively affect doctors’ and hospitals’ reputations. 

Also, malpractices increase healthcare costs as many malpractice issues get settled in court against hefty fines. In 2012, $3 billion malpractice payouts were paid. Aside from difficulty paying for healthcare, medical negligence in Long Island is causing many Americans to struggle to afford caring for their health. It is because malpractice insurance premiums are going up along with the claims that may vary by state, making it harder for patients to find and access the best practitioners. 

How to avoid medical malpractice?

  • It is essential to reduce malpractices and reduce claims to prevent mistrust and save limited resources. We are talking about human life here, so in terms of communication, doctors must improve their honesty, provide information about everything to their patients, and obtain consent for minor matters. 
  • Maintain adequate, qualified, and professional support staff who can be helpful in the case of an emergency and with patients who do not understand the problem and solution. 
  • It is also necessary for medical practitioners to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.