The Ethical Path


By Dr Randhir Seewoodharry Buguth

Most of us live by our own principles and values, generally acting with good intentions and readily recognizing unethical behaviour (ethical awareness).

Ethics encompass standards that impose reasonable obligations to refrain from stealing, murder, assault, fraud, and slander (defamation). They also uphold virtues such as honesty, compassion, trust, and loyalty. Ethics delves into the rational justification for our moral judgments, exploring what is right or wrong, just or unjust.

In a modern civilized society, ethics are essential for progress and prosperity, influencing every aspect of life — from family and economy to government, religion, media, and celebration.

Common ethical challenges in society include discrimination, harassment, unethical accounting practices, technological abuse, breaches of data privacy, concerns about health and safety, and favouritism or nepotism. Some business leaders prioritize profits over addressing the impact on climate change.

Recent ethical incidents in the UK illustrate these challenges. According to BBC News, a member of the Tory party placing bets on the election date caused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ire, leading to promises of legal action.

Another incident involved cyber criminals breaching confidentiality at multiple London hospitals, exposing sensitive patient information from blood tests. Attempts to extort money from an NHS provider failed.

All institutions must uphold independence, impartiality, and integrity to maintain public trust.

Medical professionals, especially dental surgeons, play a crucial role by adhering to these principles.

Let’s explore the field of dentistry. Dental surgeons, highly trained and regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC) in the UK, ensure patient safety and uphold public confidence among the 42,000 registered dentists.

The GDC mandates adherence to nine core principles:

  1. Prioritizing patients’ interests
  2. Effective communication with patients
  3. Obtaining valid consent for treatments
  4. Safeguarding patient information
  5. Implementing a robust complaints procedure
  6. Collaborating with colleagues in the patient’s best interest
  7. Advocating for patient safety by raising concerns
  8. Maintaining personal conduct that inspires confidence
  9. Cooperating with investigations, potentially leading to corrective actions, warnings, deregistrations, or legal proceedings, including compensation for damages.

Accurate record-keeping and X-rays are crucial evidence during professional hearings.

Examining ethical dilemmas reveals various categories:

  • Breach of confidentiality: Disclosure of sensitive information requires patient or guardian consent, unless legally obligated.
  • Failure to disclose dental errors: The duty of candour mandates openness about unexpected outcomes, avoiding cover-ups.
  • Prescription practices: Limited to approved medications with justified reasons.
  • Fraudulent document issuance: Prohibiting false medical certificates or inflated receipts.
  • Quality and necessity of dental treatments: Quality assurance systems mitigate over-treatment and substandard care.
  • Guiding patients ethically: Encouraging informed decisions and second opinions to avoid unnecessary procedures.
  • Honest advertising: Ensuring transparency in dental service marketing.

Ethics courses are integral to dental education curricula. Dentists also have a duty to report abuse signs (neglect, physical, or emotional) of vulnerable children to social services.

In corrupt societies vulnerable to political interference, progress stagnates, economies falter, and talented individuals consider emigration, resulting in a brain drain.

Institutional leaders bear immense responsibility toward the public.

A Turkish proverb resonates: “If a clown is placed in a palace, he does not become a king; instead, the palace becomes a circus.” Preventing and correcting such scenarios is crucial for the benefit of all citizens.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 5 July 2024

An Appeal

Dear Reader

65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.

With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.

The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.
Thank you.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *