American Association of Neurological Surgeons
I. General Statement of Purpose
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has established a Code of Ethics for neurological surgeons as guidelines in medical, social, and professional relationships which occur in neurosurgical practice. This Code is a statement of ideals, commitments, and responsibilities of neurological surgeons to patients, other health professionals, society and themselves, and thus may be considered as one of the measures used to evaluate a member's maintenance of good professional standing, and to evaluate qualifications for membership by applicants.
II. Ethics as they relate to the Neurological Surgeon
A. The neurological surgeon shall be dedicated to the principle, first and foremost, of providing the best patient care that available resources and circumstances can provide.
B. The neurological surgeon shall not participate in any activity which is not in the best interest of the patient.
C. The neurological surgeon shall restrict his or her practice to that which he or she is competent to deliver by training, experience, and by resources.
D. The neurological surgeon shall be actively involved in continuing medical education in order to keep current on new medical technology and information in neuroscience.
E. The neurological surgeon shall not become dependent on alcohol, drugs, or involved in any other abusive practice. Should such occur, he
or she should submit voluntarily to treatment and should accept recommendations of the local committee for evaluating impaired physicians or similar peer review committee.
III. Ethics of Physician-Physician Relationships
A. In those instances in which a neurological surgeon is identified as being incompetent,* his or her neurological or other medical colleagues shall bring this circumstance to that person's attention and refer him or her to the appropriate professional committee of his or her hospital or state society if necessary.
B. The impaired neurological surgeon is expected to correct the deficiencies or his or her medical activities shall be restricted. Impairment may be a result of organic, emotional or psychological abnormalities or induced by alcohol or drugs.
C. A neurological surgeon shall respect the rights of colleagues and of other health professionals.
D. The neurological surgeon shall only receive compensation for services he or she actually delivers or directly supervises. The division of income among members of an organized group, based on the value of the services
performed by each member, as determined by group members, is appropriate.
E. In an effort to ensure a high standard of care for patients, the neurological surgeon shall preferably use consultants and other health care providers with recognized records of excellence, when available, in patient care.
F. The neurological surgeon transferring care of a patient to another neurological surgeon, or other health care provider, either by his or her own recommendation or at the request of the patient or patient's family, shall cooperate with the physician who receives the transferred patient.
G. The neurological surgeon shall cooperate fully and be actively involved in the educational process of other neurological surgeons and health care providers as circumstances permit. The neurological surgeon shall be responsible for helping his medical colleagues maintain a high level of performance and integrity in the practice of medicine, and shall refrain from repeating false charges about another health care professional.
IV. Ethics Related to the Physician-Patient and Patient's Family
A. The neurological surgeon and the patient, and patient's family, when appropriate, shall be involved in dialogue so the joint medical decision-making process will be in keeping with the patient's philosophy and desires.
B. Privacy and confidentiality of information shared by the neurological surgeon and the patient, and/or patient's family shall be respected except in those circumstances where societal concerns expressed in the law require disclosure.
C. The neurological surgeon shall never take advantage of a patient nor allow anyone to take advantage of a patient which would result in physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
D. The neurological surgeon shall be the advocate of the terminally ill patient to allow dignity in dying while providing relief of pain and suffering and avoiding unnecessary financial burdens for both patient and family. The lawful wishes of the competent patient shall be respected.
E. The neurological surgeon shall be an active resource and support to the family of the patient determined to have a totally non-functionable brain or neurologically irreversible impaired state and assist them in the ordeal of making decisions regarding that patient.
F. The neurological surgeon involved in human research and experimentation shall respect the rights of the participants and execute a consent fully informing the participants before proceeding with any treatment or research.
V. Ethics as Related to the Physician and the Legal Profession
A. The neurological surgeon shall respect the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship and shall not release information unless the patient has knowledgeably consented except as required by law.
B. The neurological surgeon, as an expert witness, shall diligently and thoroughly prepare himself or herself with relative facts so that he or she can, to the best of his or her ability, provide the court with accurate and documentable opinions on the matters at hand.
C. The neurological surgeon shall cooperate with members of the legal profession in order that justice with mercy and compassion shall prevail.
VI. Responsibilities of the Neurological Surgeon to Government
A. The neurological surgeon shall always abide by the law of the land, but support changes in those laws which are contrary to the best interests of the patient and society.
B. The neurological surgeon shall cooperate and deal honestly with governmental agencies involving those areas of health care of which he or she is a participant, but will preserve patient confidentiality.
VII. Ethics Related to the Physician and Insurance, Compensation and Reimbursement Agencies
A. The neurological surgeon shall be honest in financial dealings with the patient, insurance and health care financing agencies, and shall provide accurate, complete and timely information to those agencies.
B. The neurological surgeon shall respond appropriately to requests for medical reports from private and governmental agencies involved in reimbursement and compensation for medically related services with the consent of the patient or the patient's agent, or as otherwise provided by the law.
VIII. Ethics Related to Community and World Affairs
The neurological surgeon, in addition to providing patient care, has a social obligation to be involved in community and world activities, especially those matters affecting health.
*A neurological surgeon is determined to be incompetent, for purposes of this document, when he or she is found to be without adequate ability, knowledge or fitness, being assessed as incapable or unskillful and as failing to meet certain qualifications to practice neurological surgery in accordance with normally accepted national standards.
The Code of Ethics will be updated periodically and suggestions will be considered on an ongoing basis.