Medical Deontology in the Soviet Union

Ralph Crawshaw, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1974;134(3):592-594. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320210202033.
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Scholars are men of peace, they bear no arms,... for these are the men, that, when they have played their parts and had their exits, must step out and give the moral of their scenes, and deliver unto posterity an inventory of their Virtues and Vices.

Thomas Browne Religio Medici

Medical deontology in the USSR is important to the medical profession throughout the world as an example of a concerted attempt to meet some fundamental problems assailing modern medicine. Succinctly, deontology is the study of duty, and medical deontology, necessarily, is the study of the physician's duty.

My interest in Soviet deontology antedates a recent visit, since in 1971 when the Supreme Soviet Presidium endorsed a new medical oath for Soviet physicians, I began an analysis of the structure and dynamic meaning of the oath. Correspondence with Professor V. Varakin of the Soviet Ministry of Health, produced a copy of


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