Why Do We Speak of Responsibility? (1994)
Video Craftsmen, Inc.
This teaching video, presented by the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, addresses the legal and moral responsibility that board members have to monitor the safety of physicians in practice. Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino, Director of the Clinical Center for Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC discusses the felt conflict that physicians and members of a public board experience when confronted with the obligations they have to their medical profession, patients, and the public trust and the need to make a judgment about the character of a fellow physician. Ethics is about solving conflicts of interest and the resolution of these conflicts has an ethical point of view and an ordering principle. According to Dr. Pellegrino, the gold standard guide is the "Welfare of the Patient." The physician patient relationship is a trust relationship and is based on the premise that the physician is competent and is acting in the interests of the patient. Vulnerability and inequality exist within the relationship between a physician and an ill patient. Greater responsibility in the relationship is borne by the physician and it is important to to communicate individual patients and the public that doctors are devoted beyond self-interest. Pellegrino focuses on character, "those sets of dispositions that mark our habitual behavior, e.g., honesty, fidelity, and competence. He cautions that board members must be careful not to jump to conclusions about their colleagues, but that they do bear responsibility for addressing the issue of incompetent colleagues. Rehabilitiation is possible. Teachers have responsiblity for character formation. Board members have dmanding moral obligations -- permit the competent to practice, monitor the profession, make benficent decisions for those who lapse, and balance loyalty to the profession and the patient, and harm done and the public's view of the profession.
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