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September 1986

The New Medical Ethics: A Second Opinion

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(9):1862-1863. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360210260049

To the Editor.  —"The New Medical Ethics: A Second Opinion" by Sider and Clements in the December 1985 issue of the Archives challenges a position that the authors assert sustains the "new" medical ethics, namely, patient choice.1 "The new ethics" seems to be an adaptation of the phrase "the new morality" created in 1966 by Joseph Fletcher. Instead of the new morality, the authors talk about a "new" ethics. It is difficult to identify what the authors mean by the "new" ethics but "it" adheres to the principle of patient autonomy as "basic and primary." The authors seem to refer to the developing field of bioethics or biomedical ethics and label it the "new" ethics. The authors have created a "straw man."The editorial captures the imagination and attention of the reader because it challenges an ethical position that is assumed to be good and

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