MEDICAL ETHICS HAS always been a critically important part of a physician's professional life. Ethics enters into all aspects of a physician's daily activities, and recently there has also been interest in how ethics enters into clinical investigative studies. Ethics and ethical principles are basically standards of conduct in accord with the moral standards of a society. Ethics in medical practice is the science of what can acceptably be done, and relates closely to the professionalism of medicine. Concerning professionalism, 3 classical aspects define a profession, namely, mastery of a special field of socially significant knowledge; an authorization by society to be autonomous and to establish credentials and ethics standards to govern the profession; and a service orientation to the patient that supersedes any proprietary self-interest of the professional. Ethics plays a key role in our professionalism, especially in our dedication to the best interests of our patients.
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