Physicians deal with many ethical issues on a daily basis. Ethical issues arise when two or more ethical principles apply in a particular case and would lead to different outcomes. In these situations physicians must balance these principles to arrive at the best course of action. However, in caring for patients, it is important for physicians to understand the following fundamental ethical principles that are the autonomy, Beneficence, Confidentiality, justice.
Autonomy: Autonomy is Latin for “self-rule” We have an obligation to respect the autonomy of other persons, which is to respect the decisions made by other people concerning their own lives.
Beneficence: Physicians must act in the best interests of their patients. Patients are vulnerable because of illness and lack medical expertise. We have an obligation to bring about good in all our actions.
Confidentiality: Physicians must maintain the confidentiality of medical information. Confidentiality respects patient autonomy and encourages patients to present for care.
Justice: The principle of distributive justice deals with issues of treating patients equally. Physicians should treat similarly situated patients similarly and allocate resources justly.