Depending on the reason for the patient's visit, doctors give diagnoses, order treatments and check on the progress of patients. This article discusses doctors' duties towards their patients.
What duties do doctors have toward their patients?
Doctors have many duties toward their patients. Their responsibilities cover their own actions, as well as orders they give to their assistants, such as nurses, medical students and residents.
These are a doctor's main duties:
Obligation to Diagnose and Treat Patients
In legal terms, doctors have an obligation of means toward their patients, not an obligation of result. This means that they have to take appropriate steps available to make the right diagnosis, provide treatment and follow-up on their patients' progress.
Doctors must base their actions on up-to-date scientific information and use recognized treatments in the right way.
They must treat their patients attentively and conscientiously.
Doctors must recognize their own limits: in case of doubt, they must get information from other people or refer patients to specialists.
The duty to treat patients includes the duty to
- prescribe the right medication,
- tell patients about the advantages, disadvantages, risks and alternatives regarding a proposed treatment or operation, and
- provide adequate follow-up to the patient within a reasonable amount of time.
For example, after a treatment, a doctor must provide the medical follow-up required by the patient's state of health, or at least make sure that a colleague or other professional follows up.
Duty to Provide Information
Doctors must give their patients all the information they need to make free and informed decisions. For example, doctors must tell their patients about the following:
- nature, goal and seriousness of the treatment
- risks of the treatment
- other treatment options
The doctor's duty to provide information also includes answering patients' questions.
The doctor's duty is toward the patients themselves, the people who make decisions on behalf of patients, or the parents of children under the age of 14.
Doctors must explain the chances of success and the risk of failure of the suggested treatment, keeping in mind the patient's specific condition.
Doctors must also inform their patients about the possible negative effects of a treatment. However, it is impossible for a doctor to talk about all of the possible risks; doctors must tell their patients about the foreseeable risks, in other words the risks that are most likely to occur. Doctors must also tell patients about any rare risk that could have serious consequences.
The extent of the duty to provide information depends on the circumstances and the patient in question.
For some types of treatments, doctors are required to give more complete and specific information about the risks. This is the case, for example, with purely experimental treatments as well as treatments that are not aimed at curing an illness or injury, like some types of plastic surgery. In these cases, doctors must tell patients about all possible and rare risks.
Duty to Make Sure the Patient Gives Free and Informed Consent
The reason behind the duty of doctors to provide information to patients is to give patients all the information they need to make free and informed decisions with full knowledge of the facts about the treatment and care offered. When a patient agrees to treatment or care, this is called consent.
The duty to get the consent of patients is a continuous process. This is why patients must be kept informed about any new information about their states of health and the treatments they are receiving.
Duty to Respect Confidentiality
Doctors have a duty to respect their patients' confidentiality. This is sometimes called the duty of professional secrecy.
This duty covers both the information patients tell their doctors and any facts doctors discover about their patients as part of the doctor-patient relationship.
Professional secrecy belongs to the patient, not the doctor. Doctors cannot reveal what their patients tell them, unless their patients waive the confidentiality of the information or if the law allows it. For example, the Public Health Act says that certain diseases must be reported to public health agencies.
Also, doctors can reveal some confidential information when they have very important and fair reasons to do so and these reasons relate to the health or safety of the patient or people close to the patient.
Essay On My Aim In Life To Become A doctor is a prestigious profession these days. To become a doctor is not only a desire of every girl but it has now become then aim of all the boys too. To become a doctor is not at all piece of cake. If you want to be the part of this prestigious and noble profession then you have to work very hard and you have to study for hours and even have to burn the midnight oil. Why everyone wants to become a doctor, there are some reason of opting this ambition line:
Wish Of My Parents:
It is my utmost wish to become a doctor because it is also the dire wish of my parents too. There cannot be a single child who can neglect the wish of her parents. Those parents will be one of the lucky and fortunate parents whose kids will become doctors one day and that day will come when I will be fulfilling this wish of my parents.
Desire to Help The Poor:
It is my aim to become a doctor because I have this strong desire to help the poor. It is seen that poor do not know much about better health measures. They live in unhygienic way and face many diseases. By becoming a doctor, I will be spreading awareness among all the poor that it is only your health that can give the utmost happiness in your life.
Wish To Do Self Servicing:
I want to become a doctor because I have this desire to do self servicing for all the needy and poor. If hospitals like that of Shaukat Khanum can do the needful then such kind of more and more hospitals should be built up and one day it will building that hospital too where free medical treatment will be given to the poor patients.
Want To Educate That How Much Health Important Is:
I have this desire to spread this awareness and concept that health is wealth. I want to enlighten and inform the people about this concept that it is only their health that can make them to live for ages and ages.
Hence, it is only a matter of dedication as well as passion and hardwork that can allow all the students to become a doctor. If you are focused then you can for sure complete this aim of yours.