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Ideas and Opinions |

The Unethical in Medical Ethics

FRANZ J. INGELFINGER, M.D., M.A.C.P.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Franz J. Ingelfinger, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115.


Boston, Massachusetts


Ann Intern Med. 1975;83(2):264-269. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-83-2-264
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An increasing societal recognition that the rights and dignity of the individual must be protected has led to an appropriate imposition of stricter ethical guidelines in medical research and practice. Occasionally, however, medical ethics is exploited. Examples are irresponsible accusations of unethical conduct, sensationalism, undue concern for prisoners as opposed to other experimental subjects, a bureaucratic proliferation of ethical regulations and review mechanisms, and a trivialization of ethical objectives. Such misuse of medical ethics compromises medical research, enhances public distrust of the physician, and devaluates medical ethics itself. The unethical in both medical practice and medical ethics can be contained by determined and greater effort to achieve understanding between physicians and ethicists.

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