Promoting physician well‐being, which is not only important for physicians’ health, but also that of their patients, ensures that physicians are able to provide the best possible care for their patients.
A lack of well‐being contributes to lack of empathy and medical errors. Physicians lacking in well‐being may also suffer from compassion fatigue, so not only may errors occur with greater frequency, but physicians may suffer from a “who really cares?” perspective. From the patient’s perspective, every aspect of patients’ medical eye care is important.
Thus, for the best interests of patients and the profession, it is an ethical and professional obligation to promote physician well‐being.
All of the rules of the Code of Ethics may be involved in issues related to physician well‐being, but primarily they will be direct patient‐care rules, such as:
- Informed Consent
- Research and Innovation
- Other Opinions
- Pretreatment Assessment
- Delegation for Services
- Postoperative Care
- Medical & Surgical Procedures
- Procedures and Materials
Also involved, will be rules of the Code of Ethics primarily relating to physician‐to‐physician behavior include:
- Commercial Relationships
- Communication to Colleagues
- Interrelations between Ophthalmologists
- Conflicts of Interest
Principles and Rules of the Code may be part of an effort to encourage physician well‐being.
Two such Principles are:
6. Corrective Action. If a member has a reasonable basis for believing that another person has deviated
from professionally‐accepted standards in a manner that adversely affects patient care or from the
Rules of Ethics, the member should attempt to prevent the continuation of this conduct. This is best
done by communicating directly with the other person. When that action is ineffective or is not feasible,
the member has a responsibility to refer the matter to the appropriate authorities and to cooperate
with those authorities in their professional and legal efforts to prevent the continuation of the conduct.
7. An Ophthalmologist's Responsibility. It is the responsibility of an ophthalmologist to act in the
best interest of the patient.
Two such Rules are:
The Impaired Ophthalmologist. A physically, mentally or emotionally impaired ophthalmologist should
withdraw from those aspects of practice affected by the impairment. If an impaired ophthalmologist
does not cease inappropriate behavior, it is the duty of other ophthalmologists who know of the
impairment to take action to attempt to assure correction of the situation. This may involve a wide
range of remedial actions.
Competence of the Ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist must maintain competence. Competence can
never be totally comprehensive, and therefore must be supplemented by other colleagues when
indicated. Competence involves technical ability, cognitive knowledge, and ethical concerns for the
patient. Competence includes having adequate and proper knowledge to make a professionally
appropriate and acceptable decision regarding the patient's management.
A full reprinting of the Principles and Rules of the Code of Ethics.