Ethics in Academic Surgery

  • Charles W. Kimbrough
  • Timothy M. PawlikEmail author


There is increasing awareness of the unique ethical issues inherent to clinical care and research, including the dual loyalties of the surgeon-scientist. Learning how to approach and manage ethical conflicts that may arise is critical for any academic surgeon. An understanding of the underlying ethical principles, past precedents, and the relevant regulations or guidelines can help guide moral reasoning and ethical decision-making. Voluntary informed consent, scientific value, and favorable risk-benefit ratios must be taken into consideration with all human subjects research. To preserve research integrity, good research practices must be observed, along with the avoidance of research misconduct including falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism. Conflicts of interest must be appropriately disclosed and managed. Moving beyond ethical principles as a guide for behavior, character needs to serve as a foundation for ethical decision-making.


Ethics Human subjects research Research misconduct Informed consent Conflict of interest 


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Suggested Reading

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  5. The nuremberg code. JAMA. 2017;276(20):1691–1. Considered among the founding documents of modern bioethics, the 10-point Nuremberg code outlines protections including informed consent and argues any research must benefit society.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryThe Ohio State University, Wexner Medical CenterColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryThe Urban Meyer III and Shelley Meyer Chair for Cancer Research, The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical CenterColumbusUSA

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