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Ethics and law 

Ethics and law
Chapter:
Ethics and law
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199681907.003.0047
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date: 22 August 2019

Knowledge of medical ethics and law plays an essential role in the training of future doctors and this chapter provides a clear overview of what medical students need to know in terms of ethical decision-making and practice. The 1998 Consensus Statement on ethics for UK medical schools is summarized. The chapter discusses patients—their values, narratives, rights, and responsibilities. Consent and refusal in medical decision-making, including the main elements of valid consent, are analysed, along with the right to confidentiality and its limits. The chapter gives practical guidance on ethical behaviour while at medical school, ensuring patient dignity during physical examinations (e.g. pulling the curtains round a bed) and protecting patient confidentiality (e.g. not discussing a case in a crowded hospital lift). The chapter also advises medical students on how to learn from what they observe during their training, whether in the lecture theatre or on the ward, to help build their own ethical practise.

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