Physicians Have a Responsibility to Meet the Health Care Needs of Society
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2012
© 2012 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Special Issue: SYMPOSIUM 1: Conflicts of Interest in the Practice of Medicine
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 526–531, Fall 2012
How to Cite
Brett, A. S. (2012), Physicians Have a Responsibility to Meet the Health Care Needs of Society. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40: 526–531. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00685.x
- Issue published online: 12 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2012
People often need medical care unexpectedly and through no fault of their own. Although the system of health care in the United States is seriously flawed, our beliefs and values nevertheless commit us to rescue people with urgent medical needs. The medical profession — society's primary instrument for provision of health services — shoulders a responsibility to meet society's health care needs. In carrying out that responsibility, physicians should advocate for a less chaotic, more compassionate, and ultimately more effective system with universal, timely, access to health care. Such a system will increase physicians' job satisfaction, allow physicians to focus more sharply on clinical problem-solving and building relationships with patients, and improve the general health of the population. At the same time, the medical profession must embrace a responsibility to eliminate useless medical interventions and to practice more cost-effectively.