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Books, Journals, New Media
March 27, 2002

EthicsPrinciples of Biomedical Ethics

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


by Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, 5th ed, 454 pp, $49.95, ISBN 0-19-514331-0, Oxford University Press, 2001.

JAMA. 2002;287(12):1582-1583. doi:10.1001/jama.287.12.1582-JBK0327-2-1

I was introduced, along with legions of students, to medical ethics through an earlier edition of this classic text. Most health care givers, even if they haven't read the entire book, have absorbed the four principles of medical ethics popularized by the authors: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice—or the "Georgetown mantra," to use the code phrase. The book's influence has crossed global boundaries and is referred to wherever Western medicine predominates. In South Africa, where I teach and practice bioethics, Beauchamp and Childress' principles are finding their way into medical jargon.

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