The purpose of this study is to explore the presence of ethical standards in the content of international hospitals codes of ethics disclosed in their websites.
Firstly, the focus is on developing an integrated framework of universal values and hospital responsibilities for the content of hospitals’ codes of ethics documents. A list of key ethical issues was determined through an examination of the American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics (2016), the WAMA (2017), International Code of Medical Ethics and relevant peer-reviewed journal articles (Finseschi, 1997; Vergallo, 2016; Suhonen et al., 2011; Reader et al., 2014). Based on the detailed literature review, 48 concepts, which were evenly, classified under two groups; professional conduct issues and patients’ rights. In the second stage, the issues were ranked related to professional conduct and patients’ rights from most to least frequent for the proposed conceptual framework, using World Global Hospitals codes of ethics.
It was found that only 62% of the top 100 hospitals have an ethics code report in their websites. The findings of the study have significant theoretical and practical implications. First, most of the hospitals’ ethical codes extensively emphasize professional conduct and patients’ rights, whereas they differ in what they include or exclude from their codes and the wording used. The number and frequency of the professional conduct issues is higher than patients’ rights. Emerging ethical issues, such as physicians’ and patients’ freedom of choice, sperm donation and artificial reproduction, were not widely mentioned, whereas abortion, euthanasia, human rights and transplantation issues were disregarded entirely.
This study provides a benchmark for hospitals to assess their codes against other hospitals’ codes in terms of the specific items they address.
The results of this study provide a benchmark for evaluating and developing ethical codes for hospitals in light of the international health standards and norms.
To the best of the knowledge, no previous study has theoretically or practically analyzed hospitals’ codes of ethics.
Saygili, E. and Ozturkoglu, Y. (2020), "Patients’ rights and professional conduct issues in hospitals’ codes of ethics", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-09-2019-0071Download as .RIS
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