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Ethical issues in heath care Essay

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Updated: Jul 25th, 2019


Health care is a very important aspect of society as a whole and the actions of those in charge are very critical as they affect many people’s lives either directly or indirectly. This is why the issue of ethics is important when it comes to health care both to individual health care organizations as well as medical research.

This paper is going to take a detailed look at two ethical dilemmas in health care, the competing interests as well as the applicable theories and principles. Discussion

One of the ethical issues that health care providers face is with regards to marketing. Many health care facilities are created not only to care for patients but to also make profits.

Like any other profit making entity, the health care providers need to have in place strategies that increase their customer base. One of the ways of doing this is through advertising. However, as they do this, they should ensure that they are in a position to provide the advertised health services.

In this industry, there should be no form of exaggeration in terms of what the providers can provide (Ruger, 2008). The other ethical dilemma that the health care givers face is with regards to informed consent by patients. This means that any patient has the right to be fully informed of the medication to be administered.

Such information should include the effects and benefits both long term and short term of the medication. In some cases, the patients are not in a stable state of mind to make informed consent. In such a case, the practitioner should not be tempted to make decisions on behalf of the patient but should instead consult another party who is close to the patient (Gauhier, 2009).

While conducting their duties, health care providers are in most cases faced with some conflict of interests which should be avoided as much as possible. One of the conflicts of interest is when treating a family member. Treatment of people who are either relatives or friends of the physician might put the physician in a tricky situation. Such a doctor should ensure he does not compromise on the quality of medication (Pope, et al 1987).

Where a doctor gets paid for referring patients for medical tests, they may be tempted to even refer those patients who do not require the tests in order to increase income. There can also be competing interests where a doctor has a sexual relationship with a patient. It is for this reason that in certain medical fields, such relationships are prohibited (Gauhier, 2009).

Related to the above stared conflict of interests, there are some ethical theories such as the deontological theory. This is where the actions of the physician are guided by the set moral rules and regulations that he holds. The rights ethical theory on the other hand is a theory that gives more emphasis on the rules that have been set by society.

For instance, if society has stated that the patient should make informed consent, then the physician can use this theory to avoid a conflict of interest (Ruger, 2008). The principle of beneficence and that of respect for autonomy are some that can guide a physician when dealing with an ethical issue in the cause of his duties.

While the principle of beneficence guides physicians to do what is good the principle of respect for autonomy emphasizes on the patient being given an opportunity to make personal decisions without any interference by the physician The health care provider should only give professional advice to the patient without coercing them to make certain decisions (Ruger, 2008).


Given the delicacy and importance of health care, the providers of health care services should be very careful in conducting their duties. They should use ethical principles to guide them when dealing with ethical issues. Where such ethical issues cannot be completely avoided, then they should at least be minimized.


Gauhier, J. (2009). Counseling Psychology Quarterly. Ethical principles and human rights: building a better world globally. 22 (1). Web.

Pope. S, Tabachnick, G. Keith-Spiegel, Patricia (1987). American Psychologist. Ethics of practice: The beliefs and behaviors of psychologists as therapists. 42(11). Web.

Ruger, J. (2008). American Journal of Public Health. Ethics in American health: ethical approaches to health policy.98-90. Web.

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