The American College of Physicians' Ethics Manual is designed to help facilitate the process of making ethical decisions in clinical practice and medical research. Some aspects of medicine are fundamental and timeless. Medical practice, however, does not stand still. The sixth edition of the Ethics Manual examines emerging issues in medical ethics faced by internists and their patients and revisits older issues that are still very pertinent. The distinction and potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations when making clinical decisions are discussed.
New or expanded sections have been added on treatment without interpersonal contact; confidentiality and electronic health records; therapeutic nondisclosure; genetic testing; health system catastrophes; caring for oneself, persons with whom the physician has a prior nonprofessional relationship, and very important persons (VIPs); boundaries and privacy; social media and online professionalism; physician-industry relations; interrogation; cross-cultural efficacy, cultural humility, and physician volunteerism; attending physicians and physicians-in-training; consultation, shared care, and the patient-centered medical home; protection of human subjects; use of human biological materials and research; placebo controls; scientific publication; and sponsored research.
Also included is a case method for ethics decision making, which outlines steps physicians can take in resolving ethical dilemmas.