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Personal Code of Ethics in Medicine

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This code of ethics is a 64-page code that basically summarizes the fundamental principles of respecting basic human rights and dignity, maintaining their trust, handling their care with utmost responsibility and excellence. Nurses are responsible for the care of people on a holistic level and implementation of their plan of care of multiple levels whether it be for facilitating a safe and healthy living environment, giving their patients their medications in a safe and timely fashion, to just lending a listening ear, or advocating for their patients if they feel their plan of care is not adequately meeting their individual needs.

I believe that this code of ethics is written at the practical level being that there is an overlap between professional and personal duties. This level of ethics demands more than just the basic wrong or right ethical behavior than the basic level. It requires much more effort on the part of the professional. The Baycare values are “Trust-Dignity-Respect-Responsibility- Excellence” which is a standard set by the American Nursing Association nationwide. There is a higher duty to protect and serve under the Good Samaritan law if one comes upon the scene of an accident, at least to call for assistance. Also, when off the clock to protect their patients’ confidentiality by not disclosing any details about their patients. A nurse is to provide care for their patients, and that can extend beyond the patient to their families, groups, or even population.

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This article discusses the current top 5 ethical issues in medicine today which are: medical errors, end of life, confidentiality, resource allocation, and artificial intelligence. The one I’d like to focus on is the end of life. With the advances in medicine and technology, our ability to sustain life is increasing. But when is sustaining life no longer mercy but tortuous? The article mentions a woman in the Netherlands who described her psychiatric disease as “unbearable” and drank a vial of the lethal poison in January 2018. Should we help them end their suffering? Is that assisting with suicide? What do we do when a patient has a terminal condition?

These questions are very difficult and not easy to “solve” but strides are being taken by healthcare professionals to facilitate that each person maintains control over their own healthcare and is managed with respect and dignity through the end of life. A major way is to encourage everyone to fill out an advanced directive and/or living will. This will direct healthcare professionals in the route to take should someone become unable to communicate their needs anymore, from deeming someone to be their healthcare surrogate- to choose what kinds of life-sustaining measures they want to be taken and until when they want those implemented. People must be educated properly with prognosis and disease process as that will help them make their decisions about their care as they desire.

Is this resolution “just?” It is everyone’s inherent right to be in control of their health and life as an adult. It falls on healthcare professionals’ ethical duties to assess that each patient is given the opportunity under the right circumstances- assessing and caring for emotional well-being, mental well-being, physical well-being, and spiritual well-being for making life and death decisions. If they are mentally sound and properly educated- I believe that giving each person the opportunity to have control over their healthcare is ethical.

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