Refers to a person’s right to make choices regarding oneself. A pregnant woman is in a unique position in that she is/represents, in effect, two patients, herself and her fetus (or her children in the case of a multiple pregnancy). An autonomous informed decision made by a pregnant woman will affect both patients. Autonomy also refers to the self-governance of the healthcare professional, in so far as the healthcare professional comes to the relationship with a set of moral standards by which to live.
Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
They entail acting to benefit a person and to avoid harm. These principles require trust in the patient / healthcare provider relationship such that appropriate recommendations will be made to honor these values. Treatments that result in short-term harm may be recommended and tolerated for long-term benefit.
Though defined multiple ways, is most frequently understood in the healthcare context as allocation of healthcare according to need, regardless of the ability to pay. It is not allocation according to contribution, effort or entitlement.
Or truth telling, is the hallmark of a fiduciary relationship. In order to provide quality healthcare, the healthcare professional requires accurate information pertinent to the problem from the patient or family. In addition, the patient or family needs accurate information about the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options to make an informed decision.
The obligation to act in good faith to keep vows and promises, to honor ethical principles, to fulfill agreements, to maintain relationships and fiduciary responsibilities.
Ethical Integrity of the Professional
In addition to the ethical values discussed above, the ethical integrity of the healthcare professional is vital to the delivery of quality healthcare. It involves a moral attitude and sensitivity to other people’s needs, whether patients, families, colleagues, and includes such virtues as compassion, empathy, honesty, humility and courage. Courage, in this context, implies that a healthcare professional maintains his or her moral stance.