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A Concord in Medical Ethics

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University of California, San Francisco; San Francisco, California

Ann Intern Med. 1983;99(2):261-264. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-99-2-261
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"Ethics used to be a simple matter," said the venerable physician, recently retired. "I'm glad I don't have to worry about it now." He was thinking of the days when the only ethical imperative was "do no harm"; when the ethical physician need only be competent, kind, reliable, and, when the occasion required, self-sacrificing; when the only ethical controversy concerned accepting a fee for referral. Today, the physician is well aware that the term ethics raises so many anxious, confusing questions. What of the competent physicians who, determining in their best clinical judgment that their comatose patient is beyond hope


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