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It is not so complicated to explain how duty of care relates to duty of candour. It does not involve any rocket science but it requires a dense knowledge of the concerned terminologies. Both of these play a significant role in society, morally and ethically. First, the meaning and context of these terms should be understood to grasp the idea of the relationship between the two.
The Duty of Care is related to individual effort for the well-being of others. This is the most concise account that has ever been used to address this term. It states when someone takes necessary measures for the others’ protection fulfils the Duty of Care.
Duty of Care does not only involves saving something from an accident, feeding the starving people, giving shelter to orphans, sharing a meal, calling the police when a crime scene is spotted, etc. But it also includes a sense of responsibility and self-improvement. If a person possesses such habits or activities that can harm others’ then it is the demand of duty of care to correct oneself.
Some of the most comprehensible examples to define the term duty of care are following traffic rules, avoiding contributing to pollution, staying humble and polite, etc. Further, in the current era of the covid pandemic, wearing masks and following proper SOPs is the most significant and essential duty of care.
In addition, Duty of care also influences a person’s work role. The term work role refers to a person’s professional share. According to the rules of duty of care, a professional must not take responsibility of work for which he/she is not qualified enough. Also, a professional should report the authorized person if any sort of dishonesty is observed at the workplace, and much more.
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To describe how the duty of care affects own work role, here is an example from the teaching profession. The teachers’ duty of care shapes their work role in the way that they have to maintain a peaceful environment in the class, they make sure that no student cheats in the exam; if a teacher gives favor to a student, the other teacher who witnesses should inform the principal about that favoritism. This is what, the duty of care demands.
Coming towards the Duty of Candour, it is specified to the healthcare professionals who are obliged to inform their patients about the unintentional adversative happening that can affect and damage the patients’ health. It can be the wrong medication, misleading diagnosis of the disease, surgery on the wrong part of the body, etc. Such adverse events must be communicated to the concerned patients and resolved right after they are detected.
In 2003, an unfortunate teenage girl met fatal brain damage due to the doctors’ negligence towards the duty of candour. They didn’t check the blood group of the donor in the heart and lung transplant and even after realizing the mistake, they kept covering it for 11 days.
It was too late when they informed the parents of the girl about this adverse event. The search for another donor was of no use. However, they took responsibility for the mishap and the hospital introduced a new system to avoid such malpractices in the future. Therefore, any negligence towards the duty of candour can lead the healthcare professional to treacherous consequences.
However, the duty of candour is not always concerned with the flawed healthcare treatments; there are several other factors too that can harm patients. These factors also require the interference of duty of candour so that they could not give the patients any damage. The healthcare professionals must evaluate such factors and communicate them to the patients, for example, possible complications in delivery, harmful effects of obesity, consequences of not following a diet plan, operation urgency, and so on.
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Now, it is quite easy to describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour. Only the true realization of the duty of care can help the health professionals fulfil the requirements of the duty of candour. It is the duty of care that persuades them to admit their adversative action and leads them to perform their duty of candour by confessing the mistake in front of the patient.
It is the spirit of duty of care that influences the work role of the healthcare providers; they take the responsibility for their actions, find out the harmful factors and report the adverse events to the concerned healthcare authorities, mostly the higher management of the hospital, so that the medical errors can be resolved. This is how duty of care relate to duty of candour.
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