Foundations and Principles of Surgical Ethics

  • Alberto R. FerreresEmail author


Surgery is a moral practice and each individual surgeon should be considered as a moral and fiduciary agent. Due to the unique features inherent to any surgical procedure, this activity should be guided by stringent ethical principles. When medicine and surgery transformed themselves into a profession, ethics grew to provide a frame within the surgeon-physician relationship. The influence of John Gregory and Thomas Percival should be considered essential in the growth and development of medical ethics. Sir William Stokes was the first one to coin the term “surgical ethics,” and the Australian surgical oncologist Miles Little provided a theoretical frame with the following five categories: rescue, proximity, ordeal, aftermath, and presence.


Medical ethics Bioethics Surgical ethics Surgery Ethical categories Competence “Primum non nocere” 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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