Managing Conflicting Duties

Conflict among the duties outlined in this guide is inevitable. When conflict arises, physicians should first refer to the fundamental values that ground the principles and duties that follow. For example, if there is a conflict between a physician’s obligation to a patient and the obligation to the system (e.g., efficiency), the profession’s commitment to the value of altruism makes it clear that the patient should always come first.

Conflicts will not always involve a clear choice between values, instead requiring a balancing of duties and values to determine the best way to proceed. Consultation with colleagues, the College and/or the CMPA or other insurance provider is often the best way to work through these issues.