Fundamental ethical issues in unnecessary surgical procedures

In clinical practice performing unnecessary surgical procedures is inconsistent with ethical practice because all surgical procedures carry definitely some degree of risk. Every year millions of patients go under knife, but many of them are enduring great pain and shelling out thousands and dollars for surgeries they don’t really need. The estimated figure for the unnecessary surgical operations varies from 30%-70%. It is observed that majority of surgeons perform surgeries simply because for profit. It is surgeon’s moral responsibility to do best for patient and think , is it appropriate for a particular patient? Medical justification, desire of patient and qualification of surgeon for that operative are important ethical issues respectively dealing with beneficence, patient autonomy and non-maleficence, the basic traditional values of medical bioethics. It is not justifiable to do unnecessary surgical operations only for the sake of benefits to surgeon himself and or hospitals.  According to fundamental code of ethics, always consider first the well-being of the patient. The patient being treated at the time must be the physician's primary concern. Informed consent includes adequate information about the details of procedure, associated risks, benefits, and alternatives before any surgery.  Performing unnecessary surgery violates rules of fundamental code of ethics. It may be a basis for malpractice in routine practices. However it may be difficult to prove which cases are unnecessary.  Unnecessary surgery is that which is medically unjustifiable when the risks and costs are more than the likely therapeutic benefits or relief to the patient based on the patient’s lifestyle requirements. To avoid or minimize such interventions basic seeding of ethics in curriculum and strict laws will definitely helpful in clinical practice. Our aim was to highlighting this major issue and underlines need of competency based medical bioethics education in Indian scenario.

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Tags: code, consent, ethical, ethics, informed, issues, malpractice, of, operations, unnecessary


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