In order to determine whether there is a significant difference between the medical literature and the surgical literature in terms of their bioethics content, we conducted a computerized search of the MEDLINE database. The journals searched were selected from the 'Medicine' and 'Surgery' sections of the 'Brandon-Hill List', and the search was limited to 1992 issues of these journals. Three hundred and seven bioethics bibliographic records (out of a total of 11,239 articles indexed) were retrieved from the 15 medical journals searched, while 17 bioethics bibliographic records (out of a total of 2,645 articles indexed) were retrieved from the 12 surgical journals searched. We conclude that there is a statistically significant (p < 0.001) difference between the medical literature and the surgical literature with respect to their quantitative bioethics content.
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