The Trusted DoctorMedical Ethics and Professionalism

The Trusted DoctorMedical Ethics and Professionalism

Rosamond Rhodes

Print publication date: Apr 2020

ISBN: 9780190859909

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Common morality has been the touchstone for addressing issues of medical ethics since the publication of Beauchamp and Childress’s Principles of Biomedical Ethics in 1979. This book challenges that reigning view by presenting an original account of the ethics of medicine. It begins by demonstrating why the standard common morality accounts of medical ethics are unsuitable for the profession and inadequate for responding to the uncommon issues that arise in medical practice. It then explains medicine’s distinctive ethics in terms of the trust that society allows to the profession. Starting with the obligation to “seek trust and be trustworthy,” the book goes on to explicate sixteen specific duties that doctors take on when they join the profession. By enumerating the duties of medical professionals and explaining their importance with numerous clinical examples, this book presents a cohesive and coherent description of the duties of medical professionals that is largely consistent with codes of medical ethics posted on websites of medical societies around the world. It also explains why it is critical for physicians to develop the attitudes or doctorly virtues that comprise the character of trustworthy doctors and buttress physicians’ efforts to fulfill their professional obligations. Together, the presentation of physicians’ duties and the elements that comprise a doctorly character add up to a description of what medical professionalism entails. This analysis provides a clear understanding of medical professionalism and guides doctors in navigating the ethically challenging situations that arise in clinical practice.