Is an unethical act always an illegal act?


Dr KK Aggarwal    25 November 2017

The American Medical Association AMA code of Medical Ethics talks about this in Opinion 1.02 The Relation of Law and Ethics. The following statements are intended to clarify the relationship between law and ethics. Ethical values and legal principles are usually closely related but ethical obligations typically exceed legal duties. In some cases the law mandates unethical conduct. In general when physicians believe a law is unjust they should work to change the law. In exceptional circumstances of unjust laws ethical responsibilities should supersede legal obligations. The fact that a physician charged with allegedly illegal conduct is acquitted or exonerated in civil or criminal proceedings does not necessarily mean that the physician acted ethically.

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