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Case from journal
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Reference no. JIACS17-05-12
Published by: Allied Business Academies
Published in: "Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies", 2011

Abstract

This case is an example of the testing of a moral code of conduct for a physician and a physician-owned medical practice. Physicians and health care professionals subscribe to the tenets of The Hippocratic Oath or similar codes of ethics for health care providers. In this case a Jewish physician (surgeon) is confronted with the moral obligation of treating a patient who is blatantly anti-Semitic. Moral obligation is further tested as the patient becomes addicted to pain killing drugs as prescribed by the physician. The patient and his father are disruptive in the physician’s office and exude threatening behaviors. The medical staff is wondering at what point the father of the patient will move from threats to physical violence. At what point will the patient bring down the reputation of the medical practice and the surgeon because of the patient’s addiction to OxyContin which has become a popular street drug. The health care administrator of the medical practice is loath to come between a physician and his patient. Her role in the medical practice does not typically include interfering with a physician/patient relationship unless the physician is committing an illegal or unethical action - neither of which appeared to be occurring in this case. It is highly unusual for a nonclinical administrator to interject him/herself in a medical matter. However, in this particular situation there were compelling and urgent reasons to meet with the physician to determine the best way to resolve the issue. Discussions of the dilemma can explore leadership styles, the roles of power and conflict resolution and the role of codes of ethical conduct such as the Hippocratic Oath. The primary subject matter of this case concerns health care administration. Secondary issues examined include the code of conduct of physicians and health care professionals, leadership styles, the role of power and conflict resolution strategies. The case has a difficulty level of three (junior level) or higher. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require two hours of preparation time by students.
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Abstract

This case is an example of the testing of a moral code of conduct for a physician and a physician-owned medical practice. Physicians and health care professionals subscribe to the tenets of The Hippocratic Oath or similar codes of ethics for health care providers. In this case a Jewish physician (surgeon) is confronted with the moral obligation of treating a patient who is blatantly anti-Semitic. Moral obligation is further tested as the patient becomes addicted to pain killing drugs as prescribed by the physician. The patient and his father are disruptive in the physician’s office and exude threatening behaviors. The medical staff is wondering at what point the father of the patient will move from threats to physical violence. At what point will the patient bring down the reputation of the medical practice and the surgeon because of the patient’s addiction to OxyContin which has become a popular street drug. The health care administrator of the medical practice is loath to come between a physician and his patient. Her role in the medical practice does not typically include interfering with a physician/patient relationship unless the physician is committing an illegal or unethical action - neither of which appeared to be occurring in this case. It is highly unusual for a nonclinical administrator to interject him/herself in a medical matter. However, in this particular situation there were compelling and urgent reasons to meet with the physician to determine the best way to resolve the issue. Discussions of the dilemma can explore leadership styles, the roles of power and conflict resolution and the role of codes of ethical conduct such as the Hippocratic Oath. The primary subject matter of this case concerns health care administration. Secondary issues examined include the code of conduct of physicians and health care professionals, leadership styles, the role of power and conflict resolution strategies. The case has a difficulty level of three (junior level) or higher. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require two hours of preparation time by students.

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