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Ideas and Opinions |

Do No Harm

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D.; Health Policy Program, University of California, San Francisco; 1326 Third Avenue; San Francisco, CA 94143.

San Francisco, California

© 1978 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(6):827-832. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-6-827
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This essay considers at length some ethical, philosophical implications of the medical maxim, "Do no harm" (or "Primum non nocere"). It helps to designate the practice of medicine as a moral enterprise. It implies that the physician will render due care, but that "due care" will take into account both the risk-benefit ratio and the benefit-detriment equation. The essay closes with a brief discussion of euthanasia considered in the light of the maxim.





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