Every day hospitals are forced to make life and death decisions in cases where there is no clear right of wrong answer. Often these decisions must be made without time to contemplate their ethical implications, but the circumstances surrounding each case are often unique and morally ambiguous and the decisions can be held to intense public scrutiny. For this reason, medical ethics is an important area of study and it is important to be familiar, not just with the issues at hand, but how decisions are made behind-the scenes.
Code of Ethics: The Physician and the Patient
The patient–physician relationship entails special obligations for the physician to serve the patient's interest because of the specialized knowledge that physicians possess, the confidential nature of the relationship, and the imbalance of power between patient and physician. Physicians publicly profess that they will use their skills for the benefit of patients, not their own benefit(10). Physicians must uphold this declaration, as should their professional associations as communities of physicians that put patient welfare first (10).
American College of Physicians (Ed.). (n.d.). ACP ethics manual sixth edition. Retrieved July 30, 2015, from ACP Center for Ethics and Professionalism website: https://www.acponline.org/ running_practice/ethics/manual/manual6th.htm#initiating