The Transformation and Challenges of the Surgeon–Patient Relationship

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    1 Scopus citations


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSurgical Ethics
    Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice
    PublisherSpringer International Publishing
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030059644
    ISBN (Print)9783030059637
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


    • Autonomy
    • Dual agency
    • Honesty
    • Justice
    • Surgeon–patient relationship


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