The golden rule: A cornerstone in the ethical care of patients - DVM
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The golden rule: A cornerstone in the ethical care of patients


Consider the following corollaries of Rule No. 5.

  • Corollary 1

If we genuinely care for each of our patients as we would want others to care for us, we would not let the intellectual challenge of studying diseases compromise our compassionate concern for them. There is a huge difference between taking care of diseases and taking care of patients, just as there is a difference between caring for our patients and caring about our patients.

  • Corollary 2

If we apply the golden rule, we should be on guard to maintain our ethical balance so as not to tip the scales toward caring more about our profits than about our patients. We must use caution not to lose our balance to the extent that management of our fees becomes detrimental to the management of our patients. To this end, our actions should demonstrate that the humane aspects of veterinary medicine are just as important, if not more so, than financial considerations.

  • Corollary 3

We are all members of a profession whose mission is to foster the well-being of others. Our mission is to serve, not to be served. Therefore the true importance of what we do should be measured in context of what it accomplishes in behalf of others, not just in light of what it does for us in terms of prestige or personal income.


At the beginning of this essay, I asked whether or not you could recite the golden rule. It is probable that most of us have committed the golden rule to memory. This being the case, the next question for us to contemplate on a daily basis is, "Do our actions reveal that we are committed to putting the golden rule into practice?"

Dr. Osborne, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, is professor of medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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