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January 22, 1982

Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions

JAMA. 1982;247(4):524. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320290060041

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Purtilo and Cassel have produced a masterful ethics handbook. Its strengths lie in concise, straight-forward language and its logically sequential format. The authors do not presume at any point previous training in or familiarity with ethics on the part of their readership. Though never patronizingly simplistic, the format of their text follows an outline that most philosophical tomes would do well to emulate.

At the outset, the authors state their reasons for producing this volume and the agenda they chose to follow; the corpus of existent medical ethics literature, they believe, is directed toward the roles of physician and nurse. They intend to provide a handbook for student and practitioner in the allied health professions: therapists, pharmacists, technologists. Their immediate objectives are to increase an ethical awareness— that is, to raise the moral consciousness of those professionals by educating them to the "stuff" of ethics that characterizes their clinical practice—