AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. November 2013, Volume 15, Number 11.

Ethics Poll

The Patient as Health Care Consumer

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

How can physicians best fulfill their responsibility to patients who want to try a nontraditional or unproven drug or biological that is unfamiliar to the physician?
The physicians should find out as much as possible about the drug the patient wants to use and then offer his or her clinical judgment on its benefits and risks.
Physicians should explain that they know only about treatments that have been tested and approved and cannot offer advice about drugs that do not meet those criteria.
As medical doctors, physicians should advise patients against using nontraditional or unproven drugs.
Don't know.

To find out what a physician-ethicist thinks about this question, see the clinical case in this issue of Virtual Mentor.

The number of physician-rating websites is growing rapidly. A patient who is displeased with a physician or office visit can post his or her dismay on such a site. Which of the following do you think in the most professional way for physicians to react to the trend of rating physicians on the web?
As a precondition for being treated, physicians should have patients sign an agreement that they will not write about the physician or clinic on public websites.
Physicians should go to the sites and respond to individuals who have posted criticism there.
Physicians should hire firms such as Physician’s Reputation Defender to monitor their web ratings and advise physicians how best to counter negative postings.
Physicians should ignore the websites and devote themselves to providing the best patient care they can.
Don't know.

To find out what a physician-ethicist thinks about this question, see the clinical case in this issue of Virtual Mentor.

Do you have an online patient health record?
Yes.
No.

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Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.