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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-56

Professionalism and ethics revisited

Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JJM Medical College and Hospital, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission27-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance27-Sep-2019
Date of Web Publication13-Nov-2019

Correspondence Address:
C S Santhosh
Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JJM Medical College and Hospital, Davangere, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijohs.ijohs_39_19

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How to cite this article:
Santhosh C S. Professionalism and ethics revisited. Int J Oral Health Sci 2019;9:55-6

How to cite this URL:
Santhosh C S. Professionalism and ethics revisited. Int J Oral Health Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 24];9:55-6. Available from: https://www.ijohsjournal.org/text.asp?2019/9/2/55/270880

The term “professionalism” is derived from the Latin word “Professio” meaning occupation, profession, or an act of professing. It has been granted a special status in the society so that the professional can deal with the needs that are valued and required by the community they serve. Doctor's profession is regarded as one of the most powerful professions requiring commitment, sacrifice, and skill to remain as the most trusted profession among the public. Despite the negative views among the general public, the noble profession has received a major boost from the reality of everyday medical encounters. Today, the greatest challenge perceived by the medical teacher is to introduce professionalism among the students. It is not only the introduction of professionalism but also to implement and practice the profession in a truly meaningful way in their daily practice.

Today, the key principles and behavior like humanism which includes behavior of a doctor such as caring, compassion, empathy, and kindness are to be revisited. Honesty, integrity, and humility being the vitals of humanism are to be inculcated. Accountability to the services of the patients, community and public is another key principle which a doctor should have as a professional. One of the most important principles being altruism-a self-sacrifice attitude in treating the patients at any hour of the day without any time frame only for the betterment of the poor and needy patients. Compassion, service, and trustworthiness are other key principles required by a doctor because service to mankind is service to god and it is this service and compassion which with the deep awareness of the suffering of the patients and a wish of the doctor to relieve him of his suffering that will win the trust in a doctor.

Medical ethics deals with the moral principles which guide the members of the medical profession in dealing with each other with their patients and the state. The word Ethics is derived from the Greek word “Ethikos” meaning rules of conduct, study of values, morals, and morality. In fact, the formal study from a doctor's perspective as to what is right and wrong? In deciding the treatment, procedure depending on the outcome, the base or the principle for deciding during our practice what is right and wrong. The analysis or reasoning by which we decide what is right and what is wrong in the best interest of the suffering patient.

In today's world, the conflict of interest between a patient and the doctor is getting more and more complex and serious. Higher technologies, research and progress in medicine have not only brought us hope for cure but also high expectation among the public. Doctors are facing ethical dilemma everyday in their practice during treatment, wherein it is a complex situation that often involves a mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another. Can a doctor involve himself in Euthanasia? What if a terminally ill patient unable to tolerate the suffering and pain requests for euthanasia? As a doctor is it ethically and legally correct to take away the life of a patient? Since Hippocratic Oath says though shall protect the life and will not administer a poison to anybody even when asked to do so nor will I suggest such a course to a patient as a doctor. What does the law of the land say with regard to end of life issues? Can a doctor involve himself in dichotomy or fee spitting? Can a doctor breach the confidentiality of a patient and what are the ethics to maintain the professional secrecy? When does a doctor has the right for privileged communication?

An insight into these issues and a sound knowledge not only about the subject but also about ethics, professionalism, and more importantly, communication skills is the need of the hour in these days of consumerization of the medical health system. The burning topics in the news editions and also the electronic media, wherein the doctor are abused everyday and are hurt by the public outrage make us to revisit these issues. Although ethics was taught since Hippocratic era, the reluctance to know and learn about these topics in recent times makes us to impress among the doctor community to follow ethics in their daily practice of medicine.


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