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June 1979

Contemporary Issues in Bioethics

Author Affiliations

East Carolina University School of Medicine Greenville, NC 27834

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(6):662-663. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130060102036

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A new field of study creates the need for teaching material, and this anthology fills a crucial need. Bioethics, medical ethics, or philosophy of medicine (different names are used) is a new academic discipline. A decade ago, few medical or undergraduate schools offered courses in this area, but today it is rare to find one that has no such program of study. At least three reasons can be given for the extraordinary growth of this interdisciplinary field. First, controversy or call for policy change occurred from within the medical profession itself. For example, current federal regulations regarding consent are easily traced to physicians, such as Henry Beecher, who documented instances of patient and subject abuse even at prestigious institutions in this country. Second, new technologies such as ventilators and dialysis machines lead to controversy about what new policies needed to be formulated and defended; it was clear they were needed.

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