The concept of ethics in the healthcare industry has evolved over time and every stakeholder in the sector should strive on improving services delivery and attaining maximum patient satisfaction. Ethics in the healthcare industry involves making the good decisions and judgments that are universally acceptable. The code of ethics in the healthcare industry expresses the responsibilities and defines rules that every health care worker, physician, and nurse must follow while attending patients. These people undergo health education that makes them understand legal and ethical concerns, patient confidentiality and informed consent (Baum, Gollust, Goold & Jacobson, 2007). The following discussion analyzes ethics and public health in relation to two cases. The first case involves doctor’s war on common surgery while the second case patients complaining over heart procedures that have claimed lives of patients.
A description of ethical (bioethical) issues related to health care and health policy
The first case concerns doctors speaking out about the pains and sufferings patients undergo because of the ignorance of some selfish physicians and health care workers. The case is about Hooman Noorchashm, a surgeon who tried to stop Morcellation procedure that was to be done on his wife because it can cause uterine cancer. Noorchashm was speaking from a witness’s point of view because he had experienced such cases and realized the risks associated with this procedure. Physicians termed the process safe and sound because majority of patients who had undergone the surgeon experienced small complications. The health care providers hold the responsibility of ensuring all procedures and operations done on patients are safe and cannot cause any health problem. The above case clearly shows that the public health policies and practices provided to healthcare practitioners ran counter to their professional principles. The case shows lack of emphases on fairness, efficiency of nursing practice, and in the use of public funds. In addition, the physicians demonstrated lack of respect for human life because they were more concerned about monetary gains because the procedure is very expensive to perform.
The second case is about heart patients challenging the type of procedures they undergo at Ky Hospital. There has been complains that heart patients undergo needless procedures that interfere with their health, while others die of pain. The above issue clearly shows some unethical operations practices by physicians that go centrally to health care ethics educations. Doctors and other health care workers in the hospital are seen defending themselves claiming they give patients the best services. The doctors’ code of ethics requires that each human look after each other irrespective of the race, religion, ethnicity or financial status. Positive relationship and positive collaboration is highly values in the health care sector, but physicians and doctors at Ky. Hospital failed to practice their ethical responsibilities. On the other hand, the hospital breaks the health care policy for failing to provide a close follow-up for their patients and administering wrong procedures to patients just to gain more money (Baum, Gollust, Goold & Jacobson, 2007).
Health care workers and practitioners should express a strong commitment to ensuring and maintaining quality care to all populations. They have professional obligations that allow them to do what they perceive to be ‘right’ irrespective of the resources and available time. The two cases clearly show a breach of the code of ethics by practitioners who put the lives of individuals at stake. The role of public health in maintaining ethics has been really questioned following these cases. In the first case, physicians told Noorchashm that the operations scheduled for his wife was very safe. According to the public health code of ethics, every patient must be briefed on the positive and negative effects of any operation before it starts and sign an informed consent. These cases show that physicians never informed their patients on the dangers of such operations. In addition, public health has the responsibility of addressing the fundamental causes of disease and its health requirements to prevent adverse health outcomes (Bayer, Gostin, Jennings, 2007).
On the other hand, equity is a paramount aspect of importance in the public health. Case 2 demonstrated total inequality among health care practitioners who perform heart surgeries depending on the financial status of the patient. Some patients receive poor quality services and end up losing their lives. In addition, the ignorance of physicians in their duties shows lack of ethics in their work. The public health’s ethical principle requires physicians to monitor the health status to identify community health problems. In the second case, the community provided the public health with relevant information, but they failed to act on this information breaking the healthcare ethical principle. Another ethical issue demonstrated on these cases was the lack of professional competence (Bayer, Gostin, Jennings, 2007). The health care practitioners shown on the cases lacked the required competence because they could not treat their patients effectively. In addition, the public health sector is ignorance of ensuring only competent health workers perform operations to patients to avoid incidences of unnecessary, painful and risky heart procedures.
The philosophy of social justice is perceived by many practitioners as the foundation in public health. Upholding recommended ethics and principles in any organizations is a fundamental aspect that helps maintain a good relationship between stakeholders. The above two cases have demonstrated how health care workers, physicians, and practitioners ignore their responsibilities and perform operations without caring about the results. The ethical issues related to these cases form a vital ground for the future of the health care industry where physicians should uphold their dignity and do their duties caring about the lives of patients.
Bayer R, Gostin L, Jennings B, et al. (2007). Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy and Practice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Baum, N., Gollust, S., Goold, S. & Jacobson P. (2007). “Looking ahead: addressing ethical challenges in public health practice”, J Law Med Ethics, 35:657–667.