Physicians' toughest ethical dilemma

Medscape laid out physicians' biggest ethical dilemmas in its "Right and Wrong in Medicine: Life, Death and Wrenching Choices" report published Nov. 2 

Medscape surveyed 4,151 U.S. physicians in 32 specialties nationwide between April 20 and July 18. 

Here's how four anonymous physicians answered the question: "What was your toughest ethical dilemma?"

"When should I report a fellow physician who willingly refuses to keep up with medical advances in an area where they routinely give care?"

"Decades back, I had two exhausted spouse-caregivers ask me to hasten their loved ones' end-of-life struggles with a pain medication overdose. They were smokers with end-stage lung disease. Ethics would not let me do it. But I stopped smoking cigarettes that day."

"In medical school, an attending made all students and residents order useless tests to enrich his private lab. If you did not follow his orders, you failed the rotation."

"I have stood my ground in coding appropriate diagnoses instead of fudging the diagnosis code to earn higher reimbursements. I was 'released' from that job because of it." 

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