Doctors Frequently Experience Ethical Dilemmas

Article explores financial and time pressures relating to four common ethical dilemmas

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

Noting that physicians are subject to numerous competing pressures, related to time and money, the article explores four ethical dilemmas that many physicians face on a regular basis.

According to Medical Economics, physicians often order marginal or unnecessary tests, with 53 percent of physicians in a recent survey saying they would order an unnecessary test if the patient was quite insistent. Conversations to convince a patient not to undergo the test can be time consuming, although this is not necessarily the case when the doctor has a trusting relationship with their patients. A second dilemma relates to pressures to refer patients within a physician's health system. The third dilemma relates to the ethical responsibility for treating newly insured Medicaid patients, with doctors finding it hard to keep up with increasing demand, especially with the uncertainty regarding payment. The final dilemma presented relates to whether physicians should give patients what they want, and includes listening to why patients feel that a certain test or procedure is important.

"Even before the influx of newly-insured patients, doctors felt as though they were practicing a form of triage to best meet patients' medical needs," according to the article.

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