Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 2
Hours: 2 lecture per week (24 total per quarter)
Prerequisite: R T 54A; one of the following: ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26.
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in R T 50A.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the elements and implications of informed consent in relation to patient autonomy and nonmalficence of the Radiologic Technologist.
  • Define specific legal doctrines to include vicarious liability, repondeat superior, and res ispa loquitur and how they apply to the practice of Radiologic Technology.


A fundamental background in ethics, historical and philosophical basis of ethics, as well as elements of ethical behavior, in regard to clinical practice. Misconduct, malpractice, legal and professional standards and the ASRT scope of practice. Intended for students in the Radiologic Technology Program; enrollment is limited to students accepted in the program.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. describe the origins of the healing arts and list the major milestones in the development of codes of behavior and ethical standards in the healing arts.
B. explain the role of ethical behavior in health care delivery in terms of personal honesty, integrity, accountability, competence and compassion.
C. employ a basic system of examination, clarification, determination of alternatives and decision-making in addressing ethical questions.
D. explain the legal responsibilities of the profession and the legal doctrines that govern them.
E. explain the radiographer's role embodied in the principle of patient consent, the conditions of informed patient consent and right of refusal.

Course Content

A. Origins and history of medical ethics
1. Origins of the healing arts
2. Principles, duties and virtues of a health professional
3. Milestones in the history of medical ethics
B. Ethics and ethical behavior
1. Moral reasoning
2. Personal behavior standards
3. Competence
4. Professional attributes
a. Compassion
b. Empathy
c. Sympathy
d. Honesty
e. Integrity
f. Accountability
5. Scope of practice defined
6. Self-assessment and self-governance
7. Continuing professional education
8. Standards of practice
9. Code of professional ethics
10. Seven principles of biomedical ethics
a. Beneficence
b. Non-malfeasance
c. Respect for autonomy
d. Veracity
e. Role fidelity
f. Confidentiality
g. Justice
11. Organization ethics
12. Systematic analysis of ethical problems
13. Ethical violations and sanctions
C. Ethical issues in health care
1. Individual and societal rights
2. Cultural considerations
3. Economic considerations
4. Technology and scarce resources
5. Access to quality health care
6. Human experimentation and research
7. End of life issues
8. Ethical research
a. Institutional review board approval
b. Data collection
c. Data reporting
9. Radiology-specific ethical issues
a. Operation and manipulation of electronic data
1) Image cropping
2) Editing metadata
b. Editing image data
a. Dose creep
b. Alteration of exposure indicators
D. Legal doctrines and standards
1. Parameters of legal responsibility
2. Torts
a. Intentional and unintentional
b. Libel and slander
c. Assault and battery
d. False imprisonment
e. Invasion of privacy
f. Breach of confidentiality
3. Negligence/malpractice
a. Definitions
b. Elements
4. Legal doctrines
a. Vicarious liability
b. Respondeat superior
c. Res ipsa loquitur
5. Legal and professional standards
a. Standard of care
b. Scope of practice
1) Restraints versus immobilization
a. Confidentiality of patient medical records
1) Written
2) Electronic
b. Electronic communication
1) Cell phones
2) Social networking sites
3) Email
4) Photography
7. Legal risk reduction and risk management
8. Medical records
a. Timely, accurate and comprehensive methods of documentation
b. Radiographic images as legal documents
c. Manipulation of electronic data
E. Patient consent
1. Definition
2. Types
3. Conditions for valid consent
4. Documentation of consent
5. Right of refusal

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

Multimedia classroom, visualizer, internet access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Methods of evaluation may include, but are not limited to:
A. Quizzes
B. Midterms
C. Research paper
D. Creative group project
E. Discussion participation
F. Final examination

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Methods of instruction may include, but are not limited to: lecture, discussion, and cooperative learning exercises.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Towsley-Cook, D.M., and T.A. Young. Ethical and Legal Issues For Imaging Professionals. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2007. ISBN: 978-032304-5995
Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Weekly reading assignments from text and syllabus, approximately one chapter per week.
B. Written research paper, based on a medical malpractice case. Student must assess the case for medical negligence; evaluate which of the ethical principles were violated; and, utilizing the Dowd Model, outline the issue and steps necessary to avoid similar situations in the future.
C. Research and planning of an individual creative project involving radiologic technology professional code of ethics.


Radiological Technology