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The WMA Medical Ethics Manual
  1. D F-C Tsai
  1. National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital; fctsai@ha.mc.ntu.edu.tw

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    Edited by Williams JR. The World Medical Association, 2005, pp 134. ISBN 9299002819

    The WMAMedical Ethics Manual, published this year, aims to provide “a basic, universally used, curriculum for the teaching of medical ethics”. According to the secretary general of the World Medical Association (WMA), Dr Human, this book results from “a comprehensive global developmental and consultative process, guided and coordinated by the WMA Ethics Unit” since the 51st WMA Assembly in 1999, which strongly advised that “medical ethics and human rights” should be a compulsory course in the curricula of medical schools worldwide.

    The manual is built on the foundation of the “physician’s relationships with others” and covers a wide range of issues in medical ethics. These include an introduction to what medical ethics is and why it ought to be studied; the principal features of medical ethics, and how the WMA decides what is ethical; ethical issues arising from the physician/patient encounter; ethics concerning physicians and society; ethical issues arising from physician/colleague interactions, and medical research ethics.

    In the introduction, four cases illustrate that the physician’s daily work, his decision making, and his interaction with others all invite ethical reflection, and that ethics has always been an essential component of medical practice. Although professionalism has been a medical tradition since the time of Hippocrates, nowadays international human rights agreements should provide the global foundation of …

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