Ethics and Public Health: Physicians as Agents of the State

U.S. physicians are asked to supply names of patients with specified infectious diseases, implement compulsory vaccination laws, report suspected abuse and injuries that appear to have been caused by violent conduct, and participate in tracking health status measures of patients with noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The December issue investigates how physicians can best carry out these public health-related duties without incurring the public’s (and sometimes their colleagues’) resentment, compromising their obligation to put the patient’s interest first, and endangering the trust that is essential to the patient-physician relationship.

Volume 9, Number 12: 785-857 Full Issue PDF