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Human Rights and Workplace Evaluations

  • Broadcast in Health



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Industry Employed Physicians(IEP) are Physicians-employed by businesses or insurance companies for the purpose of conducting medical examinations. They may have clear conflict of interest with the interests of the patient. They are used for employment, pre-employment, and work-related examinations, and for monitoring employees’ health in the workplace. In the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the United Nations calls upon professionals to uphold human rights and freedoms. There can be a conflict of loyalty that occurs when a doctor has an obligation to a third party rather than to the patient. When a doctor is asked to perform a forensic evaluation on a patient for an employer there can be a loyalty to those paying for that examination – the police service, the medical board, the insurance company, the state agency etc. There is a conflict because there are human rights at stake. It is the duty of the forensic medical practitioner to be honest and fair in documenting injuries and evidence. Even if accurate documentation will be contrary to the interests of the employer (the state), doctors must ethically always maintain their impartiality. To give in to third-party pressure may lead to a violation of the patient’s interests. Yet often these Industry Employed Physicians are biased in their evaluations.It is not sufficient to be neutral when it amounts to a failure to protect patients’ rights. Turning a blind eye to violations and abuses of human rights is not consistent with the medical professional code. The only role that clinical forensic medical practitioners should play is that of HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDER.

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