Physicians and Domestic Violence: Ethical Considerations
JAMA. 1992 Jun 17; 267(23): 3190-3193.
...The medical ethical principle of beneficence requires physicians to intervene in cases of domestic violence. Some may argue that physicians' ethical obligations to patients who are battered are limited to treating the bodily manifestations -- injuries and other symptoms. In doing more, physicians will step out of their medical role. However, in their book on beneficence, noted bioethicists Edmund Pellegrino and David Thomasma describe physicians' duties as going beyond simply addressing the physical injury or disease of their patients...Treating only the injuries and symptoms of abuse will not address the ongoing family violence that is at the root of its victims' health problems. When physicians do not diagnose abuse, it is most likely to continue and will often escalate...The ethical principle of nonmaleficence -- do no harm -- also directs physicians to diagnose domestic violence. When a diagnosis of abuse is missed, treatment is likely to be inappropriate and potentially harmful....
Attitudes; Beneficence; Community Services; Confidentiality; Consent; Consultation; Diagnosis; Disease; Domestic Violence; Do No Harm; Education; Ethics; Family Members; Family Relationship; Females; Guidelines; Harm; Health; Informed Consent; Injuries; Legal Obligations; Males; Marital Relationship; Medical Education; Medical Ethics; Moral Obligations; Nonmaleficence; Organizational Policies; Organizations; Patient Care; Patients; Physician Patient Relationship; Physician's Role; Physicians; Professional Organizations; Professional Patient Relationship; Socioeconomic Factors; Violence; Women's Health;
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