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Ethics in Medicine: Historical Perspectlives and Contemporary Concerns

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1978;239(6):548. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280330080043.
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From the earliest days of medicine, medical ethics has been an important subject. The duties and obligations of the physician have received explicit attention for 2,500 years. However, since World War II there has been a sharply intensified interest, and in the past decade, in particular, ethical problems have aroused especial concern— manifested in many new publications, both journal articles and books.

This latest volume in the stream of publications is a massive anthology that starts with some of the Hippocratic corpus and includes publications that first appeared in 1977. The major emphasis rests on problems that are current, and the majority of the reprinted articles appeared originally in the 1970s, with a sprinkling of earlier works. Many of the publications are reprinted in their entirety; others are represented by generous excerpts.

The selections fall into seven divisions. The first is strictly historical; the second essentially philosophical. The others deal


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