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Must doctors save their patients?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of medical ethics
Publication Date
Volume
9
Issue
4
Pages
211–218
Identifiers
PMID: 6668586
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The question of a doctor's moral obligation to do something for a patient was raised by G.E.M. Anscombe in a commentary on an article by John Harris, "Ethical problems in the management of some severely handicapped children," in the September 1981 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Harris considers whether there is a general obligation to treat, whether this obligation is different for medical staff than for others, and whether doctors are more blameworthy than others if they fail to treat those in need. He also looks at the question of sharing the burdens this obligation creates and identifies the prolongation of life as the clearest and most important obligation. In a commentary, Davis differentiates between a doctor's duty to society in general and his contractual obligations to an individual patient.

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