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Professional Ethics at the Bottom Line

Huston, Janis L. PhD, MEd, RHIA; Brox, Georg A. MD, MIHM


Recently, there has been much written about professional ethics in health care, but the literature has tended to focus on the ethical care and treatment of patients and protection of their privacy and confidential information. This article focuses on the ethical behavior of health care professionals and how they treat each other in the workplace. Examples of unethical behavior are described ranging from subtle favoritism by managers and bullying to crossing the legal line. Two specific cases demonstrate serious situations where it was necessary for colleagues to "blow the whistle" even at the risk of their own careers.

From the Programmes for Information Technology (Dr Huston) and Data Accreditation (Dr Brox), South East London Strategic Health Authority, National Health Service, London, United Kingdom.

Corresponding author: Janis L. Huston, PhD, MEd, RHIA, King Henry's Wharf, 39 Bywater House, Harlinger Street, London SE18 5SP, United Kingdom (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.