« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
brethren to officiate for him. Compliance with this request is an act of courtesy, which should always be performed with the utmost consideration for the interest and character of the family physician, and, when exercised for a short period, all the pecuniary obligations for such service should be awarded to him. But, if a member of the profession neglect his business in quest of pleasure and amusement, he cannot be considered as entitled to the advantages of the frequent and long-continued exercise of this fraternal courtesy, without awarding to the physician who officiates the fees arising from the discharge of his professional duties.
In obstetrical and important surgical cases, which give rise to unusual fatigue, anxiety, and responsibility, it is just that the fees accruing therefrom should be awarded to the physician who officiates.
ART. IV.-Of the duties of physicians in regard to consultations.
$ 1. A regular medical education furnishes the only presumptive evidence of professional abilities and acquirements, and ought to be the only acknowledged right of an individual to the exercise and honors of his profession. Nevertheless, as in consultations the good of the patient is the sole object in view, and this is often dependent on personal confidence, no intelligent regular practitioner, who has a license to practise from some medical board of known and acknowledged respectability recognized by the American Medical Association, and who is in good moral and professional standing in the place in which he resides, should be fastidiously excluded from fellowship, or his aid refused in consultation when it is requested by the patient. But no one can be considered as a regular practitioner, or a fit associate in consultation, whose practice is based on an exclusive dogma, to the rejection of the accumulated experience of the profession, and of the aids actually furnished by anatomy, physiology, pathology, and organic chemistry.
§ 2. In consultations, no rivalship or jealousy should be indulged; candor, probity, and all due respect should be exercised towards the physician having charge of the case.
$ 3. In consultations, the attending physician should be the first to propose the necessary questions to the sick; after which the consulting physician should have the opportunity to make such further inquiries of the patient as may be necessary to satisfy him of the true character of the case. Both physicians should then retire to a private place for deliberation; and the one first in attendance should communicate the directions agreed upon to the patient or his friends, as well as any opinions which it may be thought proper to express.
But no statement or discussion of it should take place before the patient or his friends, except in the presence of all the faculty attending, and by their common consent; and no opinions or prognostications should be delivered which are not the result of previous deliberation and concurrence.
$ 4. In consultations, the physician in attendance should deliver his opinion first; and, when there are several consulting, they should deliver their opinions in the order in which they have been called in. No decision, however, should restrain the attending physician from making such variations in the mode of treatment as any subsequent unexpected change in the character of the case may demand. But such variation and the reasons for it ought to be carefully detailed at the next meeting in consultation. The same privilege belongs also to the consulting physician if he is sent for in an emergency, when the regular attendant is out of the way, and similar explanations must be made by him at the next consultation.
$ 5. The utmost punctuality should be observed in the visits of physicians when they are to hold consultation together, and this is generally practicable, for society has been considerate enough to allow the plea of a professional engagement to take precedence of all others, and to be an ample reason for the relinquishment of any present occupation. But, as professional engagements may sometimes interfere, and delay one of the parties, the physician who first arrives should wait for his associate a reasonable period, after which the consultation should be considered as postponed to a new appointment. If it be the attending physician who is present, he will of course see the patient and prescribe; but if it be the consulting one, he should retire, except in case of emergency, or when he has been called from a considerable distance, in which latter case he may examine the patient, and give his opinion in writing, and under seal, to be delivered to his associate.
$ 6. In consultations, theoretical discussions should be avoided, as occasioning perplexity and loss of time. For there may be much diversity of opinion concerning speculative points, with perfect agreement in those modes of practice which are founded, not on hypothesis, but on experience and observation.
§ 7. All discussions in consultation should be held as secret and confidential. Neither by words nor manner should any of the parties to a consultation assert or insinuate that any part of the treatment pursued did not receive his assent. The responsibility must be equally divided between the medical attendants—they must equally share the credit of success as well as the blame of failure.
$ 8. Should an irreconcilable diversity of opinion occur when several physicians are called upon to consult together, the opinion of the majority should be considered as decisive; but, if the numbers be equal on each side, then the decision should rest with the attending physician. It may, moreover, sometimes happen, that two physicians cannot agree in their views of the nature of a case, and the treatment to be pursued. This is a circumstance much to be deplored, and should always be avoided, if possible, by mutual concessions, as far as they can be justified by a conscientious regard for the dictates of judgment. But, in the event of its occurrence, a third physician should, if practicable, be called to act as umpire; and if circumstances prevent the adoption of this course, it must be left to the patient to select the physician in whom he is most willing to confide. But, as every physician relies upon the rectitude of his judgment, he should, when left in the minority, politely and consistently retire from any further deliberation in the consultation, or participation in the management of the case.
$ 9. As circumstances sometimes occur to render a special consultation desirable, when the continued attendance of two physicians might be objectionable to the patient, the member of the faculty whose assistance is required in such cases should sedulously guard against all future unsolicited attendance. As such consultations require an extraordinary portion both of time and attention, at least a double honorarium may be reasonably expected.
§ 10. A physician who is called upon to consult should observe the most honorable and scrupulous regard for the character and standing of the practitioner in attendance; the practice of the latter, if necessary, should be justified as far as it can be, consistently with a conscientious regard for truth, and no hint or insinuation should be thrown out which could impair the confidence reposed in him, or affect his reputation. The consulting physician should also carefully refrain from any of those extraordinary attentions or assiduities, which are too often practised by the dishonest for the base purpose of gaining applause, or ingratiating themselves into the favor of families and individuals.
ART. V.-Duties of physicians in cases of interference. $ 1. Medicine is a liberal profession, and those admitted into its ranks should found their expectations of practice upon the extent of their qualifications, not intrigue or artifice.
$ 2. A physician, in his intercourse with a patient under the care of another practitioner, should observe the strictest caution and reserve. No meddling inquiries should be made, no disingenuous
hints given relative to the nature and treatment of his disorder, nor any course of conduct pursued that may directly or indirectly tend to diminish the trust reposed in the physician employed.
§ 3. The same circumspection and reserve should be observed when, from motives of business or friendship, a physician is prompted to visit an individual who is under the direction of another practitioner. Indeed, such visits should be avoided except under peculiar circumstances; and, when they are made, no particular inquiries should be instituted relative to the nature of the disease, or the remedies employed, but the topics of conversation should be as foreign to the case as circumstances will admit.
$ 4. A physician ought not to take charge of or prescribe for a patient who has recently been under the care of another member of the faculty in the same illness, except in cases of sudden emergency, or in consultation with the physician previously in attendance, or when the latter has relinquished the case, or been regularly notified that his services are no longer desired. Under such circumstances, no unjust and illiberal insinuations should be thrown out in relation to the conduct or practice previously pursued, which should be justified as far as candor and regard for truth and probity will permit; for it often happens that patients become dissatisfied when they do not experience immediate relief, and, as many diseases are naturally protracted, the want of success, in the first stage of treatment, affords no evidence of a lack of professional knowledge and skill.
$ 5. When a physician is called to an urgent case because the family attendant is not at hand, he ought, unless his assistance in consultation be desired, to resign the care of the patient to the latter immediately on his arrival.
§ 6. It often happens in cases of sudden illness, or of recent accidents and injuries, owing to the alarm and anxiety of friends, that a number of physicians are simultaneously sent for. Under these circumstances, courtesy should assign the patient to the first who arrives, who should select from those present any additional assistance that he may deem necessary. In all such cases, however, the practitioner who officiates should request the family physician, if there be one, to be called, and, unless his further attendance be requested, should resign the case to the latter on his arrival.
§ 7. When a physician is called to the patient of another practitioner, in consequence of the sickness or absence of the latter, he ought, on the return or recovery of the regular attendant and with the consent of the patient, to surrender the case.
[The expression," patient of another practitioner," is understood
to mean a patient who may have been under the charge of another practitioner at the time of the attack of sickness, or departure from home of the latter, or who may have called for his attendance during his absence or sickness, or in any other manner given it to be understood that he regarded the said physician as his regular medi. cal attendant.]
$ 8. A physician, when visiting a sick person in the country, may be desired to see a neighboring patient who is under the regular direction of another physician, in consequence of some sudden change or aggravation of symptoms. The conduct to be pursued on such an occasion is to give advice adapted to present circumstances; to interfere no further than is absolutely necessary with the general plan of treatment; to assume no future direction, unless it be expressly desired; and, in this last case, to request an immediate consultation with the practitioner previously employed.
$ 9. A wealthy physician should not give advice gratis to the affluent; because his doing so is an injury to his professional brethren. The office of a physician can never be supported as an exclusively beneficent one; and it is defrauding, in some degree, the common funds for its support, when fees are dispensed with which might justly be claimed.
§ 10. When a physician who has been engaged to attend a case of midwifery is absent, and another is sent for, if delivery is accomplished during the attendance of the latter, he is entitled to the fee, but should resign the patient to the practitioner first engaged.
ART. VI.–Of differences between physicians. $ 1. Diversity of opinion and opposition of interest may, in the medical as in other professions, sometimes occasion controversy and even contention. Whenever such cases unfortunately occur, and cannot be immediately terminated, they should be referred to the arbitration of a sufficient number of physicians or a courtmedical, or, where both parties are members of the Medical Society of their county, to the Censors.
§ 2. As peculiar reserve must be maintained by physicians towards the public, in regard to professional matters, and as there exist numerous points in medical ethics and etiquette through which the feelings of medical men may be painfully assailed in their intercourse with each other, and which cannot be understood or appreciated by general society, neither the subject matter of such differences nor the adjudication of the arbitrators should be made public, as publicity in a case of this nature may be personally