Special Communication |

Professional Ethics in Medicine in Our Time

Ignacio Chávez, MD
JAMA. 1964;190(3):226-231. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070160050010.
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JEAN GOSSET said recently that at the present time it is not fashionable to speak of professional ethics. One is in danger of being labelled as a moralist, a hypocrite, or at least a utopian idealist. This, unfortunately, is true, and for this reason I cannot rid myself of certain feelings of discomfort as I stand here before you to talk, as I have been asked to do, about the conflicts of professional ethics when confronted with certain of the problems of our time.

The basic theme, that of medical morality, is so old that Hippocrates himself went to some lengths to define it in his famous oath, 24 centuries ago. But we must agree that, old as it is, it has not lost its vitality, and continues to be a permanent source of concern in every doctor's conscience. Deep inside us we are aware that the dictates of a


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