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July 21, 1962


JAMA. 1962;181(3):253-254. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050290075016

In recent issues of The Journal, editorials reviewing my interpretation of Jewish medical ethics and Catholic medical ethics have appeared (May 5, p. 403 and June 9, p. 834). It seemed reasonable in planning such a series to conclude with a discussion of Protestant medical ethics. According to a 1955 census of church membership in the United States, 58% of approximately 100 million Americans affiliated with religious bodies were classified as Protestants. However, the title "Protestant Medical Ethics" would have emphasized the sectarian limitations and perhaps overemphasized the medical or professional implications. This was not the primary intent, despite the selection of the adjective "medical" in the previous communications. Furthermore, one of the significant issues among most Protestant denominations is the acceptance of the concept that the ethics of the physician in the practice of medicine rest largely with the physician and are not decreed in a canon of judgments