Ethical Guidelines as set out by the AVMA

I have chosen to blog about the code of conduct laid out by the American Veterinary Medical Association which can be found here: https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Principles-of-Veterinary-Medical-Ethics-of-the-AVMA.aspx .  As veterinary students, we are taught that we are entering one of the most well-respected professions.  In order to have become so well-respected and in order to keep that public respect, it is important that we hold ourselves to an exceptionally high standard of ethics and responsibility.  This document addresses 8 important principles that veterinarians shall adhere to and then goes on to give specific instances in which these principles apply.  For example, some very controversial topics include the fixing of genetic defects in animals used for show and breeding.  It mentions this as unethical and even specifies that if medical necessity overrides this and the genetic defect must be fixed in order for the animal to maintain quality of life, the veterinarian should then render the animal unable to reproduce.  They specifically discuss ending veterinarian-client relationship with tact and courtesy.  They even address how these principles and ethics should be monitored to make sure veterinarians are abiding by them.  They task the local and state veterinary associations with this and have a judicial council as well. In addition, they say that a veterinarian with supervisory authority over another should make sure that vet conforms to the principles.  They mention that ethics should be part of the veterinary curriculum and include it on examinations.  In looking further, it appears that the AVMA code of ethics is generally modeled against those for the American Medical Association.  The doctor-patient relationship is so important in medicine and, since our patients can’t talk, even more so in veterinary medicine.  Having such specific guidelines on ethics not only helps guide veterinarians, but also helps to ensure that they are acting in the most ethical way possible and keeping the trust that is needed in a medical relationship.

 

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