• Medical ethics has increased in importance in medical education and practice as a consequence of advances in definitive treatment of patients. Most problems in ethics related to medicine have certain common denominators. Medical scientists and practitioners frequently disclaim any ethical absolutes or consider as important only nonmoral consequences rather than ethical principles such as justice, noninjury, truth-telling, etc.
Failure to differentiate moral from nonmoral decisions as well as differences in level of moral reasoning also account for substantial differences in analyzing a given clinical problem. Finally, individual moral policy may be rendered ineffective because of institutional policies that result from purely pragmatic considerations.
(Am J Dis Child 129:1157-1161, 1975)