Medical Ethics : Mnemonics

medical ethics

4 D’s of Medical Negligence

  1. Duty
  2. Deviation/Dereliction
  3. Damage
  4. Direct cause

4 Core Principles of Medical Ethics

Mnemonic: BAN Justice

  1. Beneficence
  2. Autonomy
  3. Non-maleficence
  4. Justice

Some even add “Veracity or Truthfulness” and “Confidentiality” to make 6 Ethical Principles.

BRAIN of Informed Consent

  1. Benefits
  2. Risks
  3. Alternatives
  4. Indications
  5. Nature

5 Cs of the Exceptions to the duty of Confidentiality

  1. Consent from patient or legally surrogate decision maker
  2. Court order
  3. Continued treatment
  4. Comply with the law
  5. Communicate a threat (also known as “Tarasoff exception”)

Privileged Communication

Doctor’s can disclose patient’s information in the interest of the community or public.

Mnemonic: IV NS Put Cannula Safely Sister

  1. Infectious diseases
  2. Veneral diseases
  3. Notifiable diseases
  4. Suspected crimes
  5. Patient’s own interest (if patient may harm himself)
  6. Self-interest of doctor (in suits by patient against doctor)
  7. Courts of law
  8. Staffs

6A – DISCO of Professional Misconduct or Infamous Conduct

  1. Adultery
  2. Advertisement (beyond set guidelines)
  3. Association (with unqualified person in professional matters)
  4. Addiction
  5. Alcoholism (during practice)
  6. Abortion (illegal)
  7. Dichotomy (fee-splitting or fee-sharing)
  8. Issuing a false certificate
  9. Sex determination test
  10. Confidentiality breach
  11. Others:
    • Refusal to treat on religious grounds
    • Breach of confidentiality
    • Use of red cross emblem by doctors
    • Not informing health authorities about notifiable diseases
    • Failure to obtain consent of both husband and wife in an operation which may result in sterility
    • Writing prescription in the form of a secret formula which is known to some particular pharmacy
    • Running an open shop for the sales of medicines


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