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June 8, 1984

Doing Right: Everyday Medical Ethics

Author Affiliations

Piedmont Hospital Atlanta


by Solomon Papper, 148 pp, $14.95, Boston, Little Brown & Co, 1983.

JAMA. 1984;251(22):3017. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340460087034

New books on medical ethics abound. This small volume is the author's personal code of medical ethics, which he has developed during his years as a clinician and teacher.

His central theme is his concern for the patient; the patient's primacy is found throughout. He uses this theme in briefly discussing such topics as the responsibilities of the physician to the patient, to his or her own family, and to society; treatment; the undesirable patient; and relationships with students, residents, fellows, and faculty. He speaks of the dehumanization process in medicine, self-righteousness and demeanor, self-discipline and personal intrusion, all as they relate to the patient.

A second major theme found throughout this book deals with ethics and medical education, a theme called "humane scholarship." The author believes that medical ethics is best taught "by a faculty who are humane scholars and reinforced by house staff whose ethical concerns are clearly