Ethical Issues in Surgical Care debuts at Clinical Congress

The ACS Committee on Ethics is pleased to announce the launch of Ethical Issues in Surgical Care, a landmark resource that defines a framework for the field of surgical ethics as it has evolved over the last 10 years. Ethical Issues in Surgical Care will be available for purchase in ACS Central, San Diego Convention Center, Exhibit Hall, Monday through Wednesday.

The book provides a foundation for understanding many of the central ethical issues in surgical practice, rather than an exhaustive overview of all topics in surgical ethics. Written by experts in the field of surgical and medical ethics, this definitive book establishes boundaries of the important domains and organizes the essential components of surgical ethics in a practical way that promotes application to surgical care.

“There are a multitude of texts dealing with medical ethics but few devoted to the unique circumstances of the surgeon and the practice of surgery,” said Mark C. Weissler, MD, FACS, who initiated the effort in 2014 as then-Chair of the ACS Committee on Ethics. Dr. Weissler believed the committee should develop a textbook aimed specifically at the topic of ethics as it relates to the practice of surgery. “The committee felt it was important for the College to define the ethical underpinnings of the profession it serves in order to most effectively promote the highest standards of professionalism within surgery and to serve as a reference for what is considered optimal professional behavior in the common dilemmas that surgeons face in daily practice,” Dr. Weissler said.

The new book constitutes an authoritative treatise on surgical ethics, according to Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, FAAP, present Chair, ACS Committee on Ethics, and Chair-Elect of the ACS Program Committee.

Ethical Issues in Surgical Care was written under the auspices of the ACS Committee on Ethics and the Division of Education, and was edited by Alberto R. Ferreres, MD, PhD, MPH, JD, FACS(Hon); Peter Angelos, MD, PhD, FACS; and Eric A. Singer, MD, MA, FACS. The 21 chapters are organized into four sections that address the broad areas of general considerations, the surgeon-patient relationship, the surgeon and the surgical profession, and the surgeon and society. These broad categories are aligned with the predominant arenas in which surgical ethics issues arise.

The book features case scenarios to ground the ethical discussions in the realities of clinical practice and includes topics such as the distinctive aspects of surgical ethics, surgical judgment and uncertainty, a toolbox for surgical ethics, duties and obligations of surgeons, informed consent, disclosure, end-of-life issues, surgical innovation, conflicts of interest, ethics in surgical research and publication, mentor-mentee relationships, teaching surgical ethics, errors, organ transplant patients, and global challenges.

“Surgeons need to regularly negotiate a variety of difficult challenges and ethical dilemmas, and the path is often unclear. This textbook focuses on the key ethical issues and should be of great help to surgeons from across the surgical specialties, as well as surgical trainees,” said Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education. “There has always been a need for a definitive book on surgical ethics that addresses a broad range of issues, and this need has become even more evident in recent years. The editors and authors have developed a stellar resource to help meet this need.”