Center for Bioethics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

August 1987


The field of medical rehabilitation is relatively new, a product in great part of the rapid developments in medical science during and after the Second World War. Until recently, the ethical problems of this new field were neglected. There seemed to be more pressing concerns as rehabilitation medicine struggled to establish itself, somtimes in the face of considerable skepticism or hostility. There also seemed no pressing moral questions of the kind and intensity to be encountered, say, in high technology acute care medicine or genetic engineering. With eyes focused on the dramatic and wrenching problems, those in biomedical ethics could and did easily overlook the quiet, less obtrusive, issues of rehabilitation.


© The Hastings Center. Reprinted by permission. This article originally appeared in the Hastings Center Report, Volume 17, Issue 4, August 1987, pages 1-20. Publisher URL:



Date Posted: 08 March 2007