Ethical Aspects

Obligations of Physicians: Guideposts

Under review

In Québec, professional ethics, the Code of ehics of physicians and the Collège des médecins are indispensable guideposts. Nonetheless, one should point out that “ethics”, or that which helps a person decide what he or she should do in a specific situation, cannot be reduced to a set of obligations, much less professional obligations, for two reasons.

First, there are many other obligations not particular to physicians but which physicians must fulfill like all other citizens. This is true of laws, for example. Indeed for many, laws are considered to be the mandatory rules that come closest to “ethics” and, for this reason, are the best insurance of a humanistic approach on the part of physicians. Secondly, the real moral challenge is not so much to submit to all of these obligations, but to deal with them on a personal level, in a lucid manner, and on a daily basis.

The fact remains that the professional  obligations of physicians can serve as guideposts, provided they keep a watchful eye on their evolution. They are also guideposts on which the public can rely and on which physicians can build their own personal ethic.

  • GOULET, DENIS. Histoire du Collège des médecins du Québec. Montréal, Collège des médecins du Québec, 1997, 263 p.