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Ethics in public health practice

V Raman Kutty


The approach to ethical medical practice is easy to define. It rests on the premise that the doctor’s primary ethical commitment is to his/her patient. The doctor is supposed to spare no effort to see that everything is done in the best interests of the patient, for his/her survival or well being. The physician is also exhorted not to divulge any secret s/he might learn about the patient to a third party under any circumstance. The ethics of public health practice, on the other hand, do not furnish such a black and white picture. In fact, it has so many shades of gray that one can be forgiven for not recognising the picture.

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