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Clinical ethics and the duty of care
  1. John McMillan, Editor-in-Chief
  1. Correspondence to Professor John McMillan, Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand; john.r.mcmillan68{at}

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Scholarly inquiry into medical ethics should inform and guide those involved in making challenging ethical decisions.1 It should strive to be integral to the work of health care professionals and health care institutions2 and clinical relevance seems essential for this to happen.

To acknowledge the importance of clinical relevance for medical ethics, the Journal of Medical Ethics has introduced a regular Clinical Ethics section at the beginning of each issue. Papers that we think are likely to be of particular interest and relevance to clinicians will be placed in this section of the journal.

One way in which a paper can be framed for a more clinical audience is by organising it around a scenario that healthcare professions might face. The paper published in this issue’s Clinical Ethics section considers a dilemma about whether an egg donor should be contacted to help diagnose a condition that the resulting child might have.3 While egg donation has become more common, the complexities presented by this scenario might appear removed from those which most health professionals face. However, the way in which genomics is becoming incorporated into healthcare means that the issues this scenario raises are relevant to all healthcare professionals. The spread of genomics into practice means that the …

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