an individual human being. Additionally, you must be knowledgeable about both the patients rights and responsibilities as they apply to the providing and receiving of health care services.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH) has developed standards that address both the rights and responsibilities of patients. Because the goal of JCAH is the continual promotion of excellence in providing health care services, these goals are compatible with those of the Navy Medical Department. The following breakout is a brief summary of some of the major rights and responsibilities of patients when they enter into a relationship with a health care service facility. Students seeking additional information are referred to the Accreditation Manual for Hospitals that is published by the JCAH.
The above listing is in no way intended to be all inclusive. It is, however, an introduction that emphasizes the need for the observance of rights and responsibilities of patients when they are engaged in a provider-consumer relationship.
The word ethics is derived from the Greek ethos that means custom or practice, a characteristic manner of acting, or a more or less constant style of behavior in the deliberate actions of people. When we speak of ethics, we refer to a set of rules or a body of principles. Each social, religious, and professional group has a body of principles or standards of conduct that provide ethical guidance to its members.
During your indoctrination into the military, you were introduced to the Code of the U.S. Fighting Forces. This code of conduct is an ethical guide that charges you with certain high standards of general behavior as a member of the Armed Forces.
All professional interactions must be directly related to certain codes of behavior that support the universal principles of justice, equality of human beings as persons, and respect for the dignity of human beings, In chapter 1 of this manual, professional ethics in relation to your responsibilities as a hospital corpsman was briefly discussed. Upon completion of basic Hospital Corps School, you took the following pledge.
I solemnly pledge myself before God and these witnesses to practice faithfully all of my duties as a member of the Hospital Corps. I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and a sacred trust and will assist the Medical Officer with loyalty and honesty. I will not knowingly permit harm to come to any patient. I will not partake nor administer any unauthorized medication. I will hold all personal matters pertaining to the private lives of patients in strict confidence. I dedicate my heart, mind, and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show in myself an example of all that is honorable and good throughout my naval career.
The Hospital Corpsman Pledge morally binds you to certain responsibilities and rules that are included in the science of health care ethics. Health care ethics is not unique in the development of methods, assumptions, and principles. Ethics, whether they be classified general or special (e. g., legal or medical), teach us how to judge accurately the moral rightness or wrongness of our actions. The one element that makes health care ethics different from general ethics is the inclusion of the moral rule Do your duty. This is a moral rule because it involves expectations (e.g., confidentiality). It involves what others have every reason to believe will be forthcoming. To fail in fulfilling these expectations of others is to harm them. Through the Hospital Corpsman