Medical assistants are quite important as they are key influencers of the relationship between the physician and the patients. The medical assistants are vital in enhancing the effectiveness of the physician as far as treatment is concern. Flight (2004) argues that the medical assistants are at times more close to the patients and thus are able to gather complains from the patients concerning their care or any other issue regarding the treatment. He notes that the medical assistants should carefully listen to the patient and, "make a memorandum for the physician of the complaints listed" (Flight, 2004, p. 10). He goes farther to note that in case of lack of cooperation from the patient the medical ought make a note and attach it to the patient's records for the physician. This description makes it clear that the medical assistants' positions can not be taken for granted because of what their capability to influence the physician -patient relationship. This paper will look at the relationship between the medical assistants and the patients in the light of abiding to the set laws thus the thesis statement is, "the relationship between the medical assistant and the patient". The paper integrates examples making it simple, clear and interesting.
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Medical assistant in the course of their practice often encounter cases whereby they are sure of the correct medication. In such cases the author simply terms it illegal for the medical assistant to diagnose and dispense medicine. The same applies even in obvious cases, "it is similarly illegal to take am X-ray of an obvious broken arm without a physician directive" (Flight, 2004, p.
11). Although medical assistants are professionals who are of great assistance in the delivery of health care it should be appreciated that there are laws that applies to medical offices. It is imperative that these laws are understood to protect the employer, the patients and the employees.
Supervision and Liability
From the above views of Flight (2004) there is an implication that the medical assistants are not allowed to handle treatment on their own. This means that there is a line beyond which the medical assistants are not allowed to go beyond. According to Medical Assistant Net (2010), the medical assistants are subjected to limitation within their scope of practice. According to this site, "their standards of practice coincide with supervision and liability" (Medical Assistant Net, 2010, par. 3). The simple fact concerning the operations of the medical assistants then seems to be on supervision. In most cases they should be always take instruction concerning any action which involves the patient.
It is mandatory that the medical assistants always take instructions and subject themselves to the instructions of their superiors. This is vital to reduce the amount of pain which arise due to costly mistakes which often times are committed when medical assistants decide to assume the physician's instruction. According to Medical Assistant Net (2010), "as many as 98,000 patients die as the result of medical errors in hospitals each year." (par. 3) The site further note that this has been a reason for numerous law suits by patients who have subjected to treatment they believe was under standard.
This has made liability a major concern for physicians as well as all the direct allied health care professionals who are working under him/her.
Thus as Medical Assistant Net (2010) puts it, "the thumb rule is that a medical assistant may only do tasks that a medical doctor, or other licensed health care practitioner such as a nurse practitioner, or PA has ordered and delegated" (Medical Assistant Net, par. 4). This simply means that in case of instructions are not followed then he/she would have violated the law.
Ethical Issues in Medical Assistance
In the medical field it of great significance that ethical standards are maintained. This should be the case for all the practitioners in the medical field. For the case of the medical assistants this is regulated by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This association dictates the medical ethical standards exclusively for the medical assistants. The association has a code of ethics and a medical assistant creed.
According to AAMA (2010), all the medical assistants should strive to uphold on a daily basis the set standards of ethics. These ethics are touches on rendering of dignity in full respect to humanity. The information which is obtained from the employer or through employment ought to be kept as a secret with the only exceptions being in legal cases. The medical assistants are expected to maintain and uphold the high principles of the profession at the same time seeking to improve their skills in the field so that they are in a position to handle the patients well. The medical assistants are also expected to participate in other activities which should be aimed at improving the health of the surrounding community (AAMA, 2010, par. 1).
AAMA (2010) has developed a creed which the association challenges the medical assistants to commit themselves to. The moral and ethical creed is as follows:
I believe in the principles and purposes of the profession of medical assisting. I endeavor to be more effective. I aspire to render greater service. I protect the confidence entrusted to me. I am dedicated to the care and well-being of all people. I am loyal to my employer. I am true to the ethics of my profession. I am strengthened by compassion, courage and faith (AAMA, 2010, par. 2).
In most cases dilemma situations require tough decisions to be made. An instance of a an ethical dilemma for a medical assistant is one who works for a family physician in a given community now at the age of 75 years having served the community for 45 years. The medical assistant notices that the family physician has started showing signs of dementia. This has led to physician to offer a low quality service to the patients. In such a case the medical assistant is either going to report the case to the relevant authorities or simply assume the situation to protect the physician's license?
In such a case Gohsman (2008) offers the following procedure for solving such a dilemma. The first step is to fully understand the cause of the dilemma. It is important that the medical assistant is sure of this because the subsequent steps rely on the cause identified. The next step should be to list the available choices. Choices which are not legal should be eliminated.
In this case the choices include talking with the physician directly, reporting him to his senior or even reporting to the state board. From the list of legal available choices the medical assistant should next examine the likely result of each choice. The last step seemingly the hardest involves weighing whether the harm done to other parties is more than good for the others (Gohsman, 2008, p. 79-81).
Medical assistants are of great help to the physicians they work for. They make it possible for the practitioners to be effective in their practice. Just like all the other practitioners in the medical field, the medical assistants are expected to maintain high standards in the field. For the medical assistants this will include acting on the instructions given by the practitioners and adhering to the code of ethics as set by AAMA. The medical assistants are also expected to make sound decisions when faced with medical dilemmas. All this should be focused on giving the patient quality care.
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