The Transformation and Challenges of the Surgeon–Patient Relationship

  • Piroska K. KoparEmail author


This chapter explores the transformation and the challenges of the surgeon–patient relationship. It reviews the historical, legal, and bioethical background of the surgical profession and its unique nature as compared to other fields of medicine. Although the foundation of the surgeon–patient relationship has always been, and still remains, the principle of beneficence, the relationship has undergone a dynamic shift that places greater value on both patient autonomy and societal justice than in previous times. The surgeon–patient relationship is complicated by a variety of conflicts of interests and obligations, as well as emerging challenges arising from advancing technology, scarce resources, and a team-based approach to healthcare. Navigating the many demands of our changing professional values may appear difficult, but ultimately a practice built on honesty with our patients, each other, and ourselves can help maintain trust in the surgeon–patient relationship.


Surgeon–patient relationship Autonomy Justice Dual agency Honesty 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Surgical Critical Care, Acute Care and Trauma SurgeryYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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