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Committee Opinion Number 456, March 2010

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: In this Committee Opinion, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the College's ongoing efforts to promote a just health care system, explores justifications that inform just health care, and identifies professional responsibilities to guide the College and its members in advancing the cause of health care reform.


Committee Opinion Number 683, January 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 508, October 2011)

ABSTRACT: A key element of an organizational safety culture is maintaining an environment of professionalism that encourages communication and promotes high-quality care. Behavior that undermines a culture of safety, including disruptive or intimidating behavior, has a negative effect on the quality and safety of patient care. Intimidating behavior and disruptive behavior are unprofessional and should not be tolerated. Confronting disruptive individuals is difficult. Co-workers often are reluctant to report disruptive behavior because of fear of retaliation and the stigma associated with “bl...


Committee Opinion Number 490, May 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013, Replaces No. 320, November 2005)

Abstract: Actively involving patients in the planning of health services is recommended as a means of improving the quality of care. This can increase patient engagement and reduce risk resulting in improved outcomes, satisfaction, and treatment adherence.


Committee Opinion Number 676, October 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 585, February 2014)

ABSTRACT: Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. Multiple factors affect a patient’s understanding of health information, including cultural factors, a physician’s health knowledge and communication skills, the demands of the situation, the environment in which the health information is being conveyed, and time constraints. The responsibility for recognizing and addressing the problem of limited health literacy lies with all enti...


Committee Opinion Number 681, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 520, March 2012)

ABSTRACT: Adverse outcomes, preventable or otherwise, are a reality of medical care. Most importantly, adverse events affect patients, but they also affect health care practitioners. Disclosing information about adverse events has benefits for the patient and the physician and, ideally, strengthens the patient–physician relationship and promotes trust. Studies show that after an adverse outcome, patients expect and want timely and full disclosure of the event, an acknowledgment of responsibility, an understanding of what happened, expressions of sympathy, and a discussion of what is being don...


Committee Opinion Number 559, April 2013

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Cesarean delivery on maternal request is defined as a primary prelabor cesarean delivery on maternal request in the absence of any maternal or fetal indications. Potential risks of cesarean delivery on maternal request include a longer maternal hospital stay, an increased risk of respiratory problems for the infant, and greater complications in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine rupture, placental implantation problems, and the need for hysterectomy. Potential short-term benefits of planned cesarean delivery compared with a planned vaginal delivery (including women who give b...


Committee Opinion Number 410, June 2008

(Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: Genetic testing is poised to play an increasing role in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. To assure patients of the highest quality of care, physicians should become familiar with the currently available array of genetic tests and the tests' limitations. Clinicians should be able to identify patients within their practices who are candidates for genetic testing. Candidates will include patients who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and are at risk for giving birth to affected children as well as gynecology patients who, for example, may have or be predisposed to certain...


Committee Opinion Number 390, December 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Physicians vary widely in their familiarity with ethical theories and methods and their sensitivity toward ethical issues. It is important for physicians to improve their skills in addressing ethical questions. Obstetrician–gynecologists who are familiar with the concepts of medical ethics will be better able to approach complex ethical situations in a clear and structured way. By considering the ethical frameworks involving principles, virtues, care and feminist perspectives, concern for community, and case precedents, they can enhance their ability to make ethically justifiable cl...


Committee Opinion Number 466, September 2010

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: International humanitarian medical efforts provide essential services to patients who would not otherwise have access to specific health care services. The Committees on Ethics and Global Women's Health of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage College Fellows and other health care professionals to participate in international humanitarian medical efforts for this reason. However, such programs present Fellows with a unique set of practical and ethical challenges. It is important for health care providers to consider these challenges before participating i...


Committee Opinion Number 646, November 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 307, December 2004
and Committee Opinion No. 377, September 2007)

ABSTRACT: Inclusion of women in research studies is necessary for valid inferences about health and disease in women. The generalization of results from trials conducted in men may yield erroneous conclusions that fail to account for the biologic differences between men and women. Although significant changes in research design and practice have led to an increase in the proportion of women included in research trials, knowledge gaps remain because of a continued lack of inclusion of women, especially those who are pregnant, in premarketing research trials. This document provides a historical...


11.
January 2015

Committee Opinion Number 617, January 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 403, April 2008) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists care for women throughout their lifespans and are in an ideal position to have ongoing discussions with healthy patients about their values and wishes regarding future care and to encourage them to complete an advance directive for health care. In addition, situations may arise in which obstetrician–gynecologists need to participate in end-of-life care. When end-of-life decisions need to be made while a woman is pregnant, the level of ethical complexity often is increased. The purpose of this Committee Opinion is to discuss ethical issues related to end-of...


Committee Opinion Number 480, March 2011

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Empathy is the process through which one attempts to project oneself into another's life and imagine a situation from his or her point of view. Most individuals do have an innate capacity to show empathy toward others. Empathy is as important to being a good physician as technical competence. However, at times the health care environment and educational process overly emphasize technological competence, curing disease rather than healing the patient, or the economic aspects of medicine. This may interfere with an empathic approach in the clinical setting. In this Committee Opinion, ...


Committee Opinion Number 578, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 395, January 2008)

ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; ...


Committee Opinion Number 633, June 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 422, December 2008)

ABSTRACT: Alcohol abuse and other substance use disorders are major, often underdiagnosed health problems for women, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and have resulting high costs for individuals and society. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines substance use disorder as a pathologic pattern of behaviors related to the use of any of 10 separate classes of substances, including alcohol and licit and illicit substances. In order to optimize care of patients with substance use disorder, obstetrician–gynecologists are encou...


15.
June 2012

Committee Opinion Number 528, June 2012

(Replaces No. 368, June 2007) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists may find themselves at the center of adoption issues because of their expertise in the assessment and management of infertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. The lack of clarity about both ethical issues and legal consequences may create challenges for physicians. Therefore, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discusses ethical issues, proposes safeguards, and makes recommendations regarding the role of the physician in adoption.


Committee Opinion Number 385, November 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Health care providers occasionally may find that providing indicated, even standard, care would present for them a personal moral problem—a conflict of conscience—particularly in the field of reproductive medicine. Although respect for conscience is important, conscientious refusals should be limited if they constitute an imposition of religious or moral beliefs on patients, negatively affect a patient's health, are based on scientific misinformation, or create or reinforce racial or socioeconomic inequalities. Conscientious refusals that conflict with patient well-being should be a...


Committee Opinion Number 670, August 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) has the potential to reduce unintended and short-interval pregnancy. Women should be counseled about all forms of postpartum contraception in a context that allows informed decision making. Immediate postpartum LARC should be offered as an effective option for postpartum contraception; there are few contraindications to postpartum intrauterine devices and implants. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should discuss LARC during the antepartum period and counsel all pregnant women about options ...


Committee Opinion Number 664, June 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 321, November 2005)

ABSTRACT: One of the most challenging scenarios in obstetric care occurs when a pregnant patient refuses recommended medical treatment that aims to support her well-being, her fetus’s well-being, or both. In such circumstances, the obstetrician–gynecologist’s ethical obligation to safeguard the pregnant woman’s autonomy may conflict with the ethical desire to optimize the health of the fetus. Forced compliance—the alternative to respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment—raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power diffe...


Committee Opinion Number 363, April 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Recommendations to patients about testing should be based on current medical knowledge, a concern for the patient's best interests, and mutual consultation. In addition to establishing a diagnosis, testing provides opportunities to educate, inform, and advise. The ethical principles of respect for autonomy (patient choice) and beneficence (concern for the patient's best interests) should guide the testing, counseling, and reporting process. Clear and ample communication fosters trust, facilitates access to services, and improves the quality of medical care.


Committee Opinion Number 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


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