“Nonmaleficence is an ethical principle, which means doing no harm or inflicting the least harm possible or even the risk of causing harm to reach a beneficial outcome. This includes all forms of harm as physical, emotional injury, or violations of rights of people and patients.
In healthcare and to a greater extent, Nonmaleficence is linked to the nature of doctor-patient relationship and the ethical standards governing this relation and the doctor should provide the care considering the best interest of the patients and making sure no harm is caused to him. With the changes in the nature and regulations in this professional relationship where patient autonomy is given more weight in current days, as the selection of their own treatment and intervention, particularly in end of life issues or abortion requires good communications and re-structuring of the Nonmaleficence in medical practice. In Islamic medical ethics, Beneficence is given more priority over Nonmaleficence and this aims to protect the human sole from faulty and non-knowledgeable patients own decision that contradict evidence-based medicine.
Nonmaleficence mandate high moral standards in which physicians needs to consider before taking decisions or conducting new treatments. And if this ethical concept did not be applied, this will affect the organization reputation and shake “the culture of candor” that needs to be augmented through out all levels of the staff. For example, trying to convince a patient to undergo a surgical procedure that may not benefit him or has weak supporting evidence will disturb the “telling the truth” principle and the transparency of the organization for reaching this culture of candor.
As leaders in king fahad medical city, we should keep in mind as well that sometimes application of Nonmaleficence can not be always the case as sometimes giving medications and performing surgeries may have secondary effects that may be harmful in varying degrees and can not be avoided, here where the transparency and telling the full truth and engage the patient will have a high value. The most important in this situation is the first intent, if it was do no harm, then those secondary harms considered unintended.”