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July 23, 1982

Dictionary of Medical Ethics

Author Affiliations

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Georgetown University Washington, DC


edited by A. S. Duncan, G. R. Dunstan, and R. B. Welbourn, ed 2; 459 pp, $24.50, New York, The Crossroad Publishing Co, 1981.

JAMA. 1982;248(4):479. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330040067045

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


The newly revised edition of the Dictionary of Medical Ethics updates and expands the British publication of 1977. It provides alphabetical entries for terms in the current medical ethical discourse and major areas of ethical problems in the practice of medicine. They are meant to be useful for both practicing clinician and lay person.

More than 70% of the entries are written by physicians, while others come from lawyers, clergy, and philosophers. Many of the major organizations in the field of medical ethics have short entries written by their chief officers describing the nature of their work. All of the entries are relatively brief. They range from one sentence to several pages and are uneven in style, objectives, and sophistication. The best ones provide statements of the relevant medical issue and of the ethical areas of controversy, a survey of ethical positions taken regarding the issue and the kinds of