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August 1986

The New Medical Ethics

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

White Plains, NY

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(8):1631-1635. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360200209042

To the Editor.  —In their recent editorial, "The New Medical Ethics,"1 Drs Sider and Clements have decided that part of the medical ethics movement is an "empty shell"; that doctors are now morally bound in the Procrustean bed of informed consent and patient rights; and that the patient does not know what is good for him. While it is natural to be concerned with new developments, our complaint is that the authors, in listing their ten concerns, make many unfounded assumptions.Drs Sider and Clements assume that there are, a priori, right and wrong courses of action, "relative goodness of choice"; and the right medical action is that which will help heal the tangible physical ailment. Unfortunately, the physician cannot always know what is in the best interest of his patient. There are often several alternative courses that may be taken, as medicine is as much art as science. Sometimes

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