Ethical challenges and education
To the Editor:
I read with interest Lindstrom’s perspective (Ocular Surgery News, July 25, 2014, page 3, “Knowledge in ocular genetics will be expanded to more common disease”).
If we sensibly and truthfully follow primum non nocere, ethical challenges will not be difficult to solve. There is so much mistrust and distrust today. The public should believe that the medical profession is honestly separating professional ethics from business ethics. In an era in which the medical profession and hospitals are adopting an increasingly “business” model, we have created our own hurdles.
It has been said, expectations of Americans are 2 years ahead of medical inventions. Americans know how to make healthy choices but still do not make them. We keep raising their expectations (sometimes unknowingly). In an era of perception being the reality, we have a tough job ahead to prove we have the patients’ best interests in mind.
There are three solutions to every problem and any problem: First is education, second is education, third is education.
We need to educate the public as well as our policymakers regarding the true benefits and costs of new technology.
Finally, the key lies in restoring the social contract between medicine and society.
Our profession must remember that it exists to serve, and society must remember that it will not have good health care unless it places trust in those who provide it.
V.K. Raju, MD, FRCS, FACS Morgantown, W.Va.