Professional responsibilities have been a concern of surgeons since antiquity; however, the last 25 years have displayed a dramatic growth of both professional and societal attention to moral and ethical issues involved in the delivery of health care. This increased interest in medical ethics has occurred because of such factors as the greater technologic power of modern medicine, the assigning of social ills to the responsibility of medicine, the growing sophistication of patients and the information available to them, the efforts to protect the civil rights of the increasing disadvantaged groups in our society, and the continued, rapidly escalating costs of health care, including medical malpractice costs. All of these factors contribute to the urgency of dealing with ethical and moral issues involved in the delivery of modern surgical care.
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© 2008 Mosby, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.