Before coming  to a decision on a clinical problem affecting one or more people, the doctor should take account of:

  1. Ethical principles behind health care

  2. Ethical behaviour - duties of a doctor

  3. Ethical consequences - general nature of the outcome to be acheived

  4. Real life constraints - pertinent practice features


  • Autonomy looks at what the patient wants but should be helped by shared understanding so that patientís are encouraged to develop autonomy and be involved in their own care. Research shows this is poorly done by doctors.
  • Encourage to look at health needs rather than wants.
  • People should be treated fairly and equally based on the principles of respect and value of human beings above all considerations.
  • Donít promise things you cannot keep and when making statements be truthful.
  • Help when you can and minimise harm.
  • Balance the decisions about the individual needs of patients versus the requirements of
  • others. E.g. relatives, community or society in general.
  • Recognise your own personal motivations and values and be aware how any decision can be influenced by your level of knowledge, the resources available to you and the roles of medical practice and the law of the land.