What’s the Point of Professional Ethical Codes?

JME Blog, 13 June 2017
Author: Iain Brassington
“They can’t be meant as a particularly useful tool for solving deep moral dilemmas: they’re much too blunt for that, often presuppose too much, and tend to bend to suit the law. To think that because the relevant professional code enjoins x it follows that x is permissible or right smacks of a simple appeal to authority, and this flies in the face of what it is to be a moral agent in the first place. But what a professional code of ethics may do is to provide a certain kind of Bolamesque legal defence: if your having done ? attracts a claim that it’s negligent or unreasonable or something like that, being able to point out that your professional body endorses ?-ing will help you out. But professional ethics, and what counts as professional discipline, stretches way beyond that.”
Find article here.

Evaluating the Quality of the Deliberation in Moral Case Deliberations: A Coding Scheme

Bioethics, 2017, 31: 277–285. doi:10.1111/bioe.12346
Authors: Jellema, H., Kremer, S., Mackor, A.-R. and Molewijk, B
“Moral Case Deliberation (MCD) is an up and coming form of ethics support wherein clinical professionals deliberate about moral questions they face in their work. So far, it has been unclear what quality of deliberation in MCD is entailed and how to evaluate this quality. This article proposes a coding scheme that fits the theoretical background of MCD and allows researchers to evaluate the quality of the deliberation in MCDs.”
Find article here.

Conscientious objection in healthcare and the duty to refer

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017; 43:207-212.
Author: Cowley C
“Although some healthcare professionals have the legal right to conscientiously object to authorise or perform certain lawful medical services, they have an associated duty to provide the patient with enough information to seek out another professional willing to authorise or provide the service (the ‘duty to refer’).”
Find article here.

The Trump Psych Debate: Is It Wrong To Say He’s Mentally Ill?

Forbes, 19 February 2017
Author: Emily Willingham
“A psychologist’s petition for mental health professionals to call for Donald Trump’s removal on the grounds of mental illness has gathered 25,000 signatures, but the ethics around when and how professionals should publicly discuss the president’s mental health may not be as clearcut as you think.”
Find article here.

Epistemic Authority and Genuine Ethical Controversies

Bioethics, 2017. doi:10.1111/bioe.12341
Author: Adam James Roberts
“In ‘Professional Hubris and its Consequences’, Eric Vogelstein claims that ‘that there are no good arguments in favor of professional organizations taking genuinely controversial positions on issues of professional ethics’. In this response, I defend two arguments in favour of organisations taking such positions: that their stance-taking may lead to better public policy, and that it may lead to better practice by medical professionals. If either of those defences succeeds, then Vogelstein’s easy path to his conclusion – that professional organisations should not take such stances – is blocked. He or others must instead look to establish that the reasons against stance-taking on genuine ethical controversies are more compelling than those for it: plausibly a more challenging task.”
Find article here.

Views on mandatory reporting of impaired health practitioners by their treating practitioners: a qualitative study from Australia

BMJ Open 2016; 6:e011988
Authors: Marie M Bismark, Ben Mathews, Jennifer M Morris, Laura A Thomas, David M Studdert
“Since 2010, health practitioners in Australia have had a legal obligation to notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) if they have a reasonable belief that another health practitioner has practiced while intoxicated, engaged in sexual misconduct, significantly departed from professional standards or placed the public at risk of substantial harm because of an impairment. The purpose of the legislation is to protect the public, by ensuring that practitioners practice in a competent and ethical manner. Controversially, the mandatory reporting duty extends to practitioners who provide clinical care to an impaired practitioner, such as a psychiatrist who treats an anaesthetist with a substance use disorder or a neurologist who cares for a general practitioner with dementia. Such ‘treating practitioners’ and ‘practitioner-patients’ form the focus of this study.”
Find article here.

Look Who’s Bearing The Cost Of Pharma’s Long-Time Sales And Marketing Tactics

Forbes, 26 August 2016
Author: Erika Kelton
“For decades, drug manufacturers have undertaken aggressive and sometimes illegal marketing to boost profits, even when patients’ health is at risk. The arrest of two pharma sales employees in June underscores that Big Pharma is not simply a bystander to the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic. Pharma’s no-holds-barred promotional tactics are an integral cause of this tragedy.”
Find article here.

Minimising waste in the health system

AMA, media release 21 July 2016
“The AMA today released its new Position Statement on the Doctor’s Role in Stewardship of Health Care Resources.  Doctors are important stewards of health care resources and good stewardship is an important part of ethical, best practice care. The Position Statement explains that stewardship involves avoiding or eliminating wasteful expenditure, with the aim of maximising quality of care and protecting patients from harm, while ensuring affordable care in the future. Stewardship is not rationing, which involves limiting the amount of health care a person is allowed to have because of economic reasons or scarcity of resources…”
Find release and link to full statement here.