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The New Medical Ethics

Edward J. Volpintesta, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(8):1635. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360200209043.
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To the Editor.  —There is no doubt that the "new medical ethics," in the December 1985 issue of the Archives,1 has raised many questions. Society, particularly physicians, is frustrated by the conflict between traditional medical ethics and the newer formalized version that is making itself known through the newspapers, television, and popular magazines.What I find particularly frustrating, is that, collectively, the medical profession is silent on these major issues: most of the dialogue on medical ethics is delegated to a small portion of the medical profession, namely, our medical colleagues in academic teaching centers, or scholars in related fields (sociology, psychology, law, theology), and, of course, to ethicists themselves.Medical ethics is rapidly becoming a specialized field of thought, with its own complex vocabulary and unique mode of expression. Soon medical ethicists and their counterparts will become an elite, isolated group whose arguments and counterarguments will make them


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