Optometrist Ethical Principles

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Health care professionals, including optometrists, have long understood the fundamental responsibilities that practitioners have toward their patients. Howev¬er, it is important to introduce optometrists to ethical discourse on a variety of important topics in every¬day practice and provide general guidance for op¬tometrists faced with ethical questions in their own clinical setting. The medical profession places certain expec¬tations on the behavior of its individuals that the general businessperson would not encounter. These expectations exist to protect patients from incompetence, uncar¬ing, or selfish practices by these professionals. This further justifies the significance of a reflection on ethical is¬sues that are essential complements…show more content…
These serve to help optometrists in their decisions to practice in accordance with a set of standards expected of a health care practitioner. There are four major ethical principles in health care, namely; beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. Following are definitions of these principles: i) Beneficence is striving to do good and to do the best for every patient. This recognizes that a prac¬titioner has a duty of care to every patient and that paramount is the objective to do good so that every patient leaves the practice in a better state than when he/she entered, or at the very least, not in a worse condi¬tion. ii) Non-maleficence, directly traceable to the Hippocratic Oath, is about the avoidance of harm. This requires balancing the risks and benefits of treatment and making decisions that will optimize the benefits and/or minimize the risk of…show more content…
In addition to beneficence, non-maleficence, re¬spect for autonomy, and justice, the principles of con¬fidentiality, protection of the vulnerable, and collegial¬ity form the ethical principles that should guide optometric practice. Confidentiality means non-disclosure of patient details and health records, in order to respect the privacy and preserve the dignity of each patient. Like non-maleficence, confidentiality directly traces to the Hippocratic Oath, which states, “whatever I see or hear, professionally or privately, which ought not to be divulged, I will keep secret and tell no one.” Protecting the vulnerable involves standing up for the rights of those who may be unable to speak or act for themselves. Although all patients are vulnerable to some extent, as they come to the practitioner for help, some are more vulnerable than others. These include children, the frail elderly, and patients who are unable to make decisions for themselves. While law may not consider some of these patients autono¬mous by law (such as children), and others may be mentally unable to exercise autonomy, their dignity must be respected at all times and the duty of care of the practitioner may require a degree of pro¬tection that extends beyond the

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