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November 13, 1987

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Values, Ethics and the Physician-in-Training

Author Affiliations

Evanston Hospital Evanston, Ill

Evanston Hospital Evanston, Ill

JAMA. 1987;258(18):2596. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400180130050

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How can ethics be taught to physicians in training? A careful reading of the bioethical literature reveals no single technique. The Standing Committee on Bioethics of the American Medical Student Association has studied this question and, as one possible solution, has produced a videotape designed to illustrate the common ethical problems that confront the physician in training. The film is successful and, because ethical issues tend to break down the hierarchy in medicine, should be of interest to all physicians, from the new graduate to the retiree.

Four short vignettes illustrate a number of ethical problems that often confront the practicing physician and the physician in training. Interactions among house staff, attending physicians, patients, nurses, and other hospital personnel are realistically depicted by professional actors in the settings of the wards of the Standford (Calif) University Hospital. The actions deal with the following issues: honesty and deception, paternalism, patient autonomy,