The practice of occupational medicine has been portrayed as being fraught with ethical conflict and yet this problem has received little systematic study. A question and case study survey of a randomly selected cohort of members of the American Occupational Medical Association has been performed to examine the extent and nature of this problem in occupational medicine practice in the United States. The results indicate a strong reliance on traditional medical role models in responding to ethical conflict but with significant underlying tension between more deontological physician-patient approaches and more teleological public health approaches. These results have significant implications for the synthesis of bioethical theories based on a perceived complementarity of ethical reality, as well as suggesting important improvements in future occupational medicine training.
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