Healthcare Delivery Ethics Statement
As Christian physicians and dentists, we believe God commands Christians to attend to health care needs of people. Jesus taught, and His life demonstrated, that caring for people includes providing for their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Values inherent in God's Word and Jesus' teaching include kindness, compassion, responsibility, impartiality, stewardship, and the sanctity of life. Therefore, Christians should work toward a system of health care delivery consistent with these values.
We affirm the following guidelines for health care delivery:
- Society as a whole should seek a basic level of health care for all. Purchase of additional health care not covered by the basic plan should not be prohibited.
- Public and/or pooled funds should not be used to finance the taking of human life.
- Institutions, clinicians, patients, and their families should share responsibility for good stewardship of medical and fiscal resources.
- The Christian community should share responsibility for health care, especially of the poor.
- All clinicians should strive to deliver health care to the poor.
- The clinician's priority should be the best interests of the patient. Clinicians should not make allocation decisions at the bedside that violate this priority, nor should clinicians allow health care delivery systems to coerce them to do so. Patient care decisions should never be influenced by clinician income considerations.
- Individuals should be responsible for their own and their dependents' health, including lifestyle choices.
- Individuals should provide for their own and their dependents' health care to the best of their ability.
If competent physicians and dentists practice the love and compassion of Christ toward all patients, recognizing that in the eyes of God each individual has intrinsic worth, good health care delivery will be enhanced.
Approved by the 1996 House of Delegates
with a vote of 79 in favor and 1 abstention.