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The moral questions raised by modern scientific medicine have made the traditional ethics of medicine frustratingly ambiguous. Jonsen argues convincingly that paradoxes are inevitable in medicine and that peace of mind and moral certainty for physicians can be approached only by understanding and accepting these paradoxes.
The traditional ethics of medicine began with the injunction of Hippocratic medicine—and later that of Richard Cabot—to treat patients with competence and to do no harm. Physicians now have tremendous technical power and are often trapped into acting too quickly and into doing too much. Christian theology, as exemplified by the Good Samaritan, added
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The New Medicine and the Old Ethics. Ann Intern Med. 1991;114:1067. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-12-1067_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(12):1067.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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