THE 1978 report of the National Endowment for the Humanities lists current grants to 108 schools of medicine or research organizations for work in the field of medical ethics and human values.
In dealing with ethical questions, however, the medical profession has a tendency to be somewhat selective and even restrictive in its concerns. The issues receiving the most attention are visible, mutable, pertinent, accessible, and demonstrable. Not that such questions are insignificant. The availability and distribution of medical care, decisions to share or withhold vital information, referral patterns, fee splitting, carrying out experiments without informed consent, inadequate credit in medical papers for the work of others, and unresponsiveness to the needs of poor patients—these are among the ethical questions that clearly justify the attention being given to them. However, they represent a fairly narrow window on the subject of ethical concerns in medicine.
The moment we accept the importance