Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2017. 10(0):.

Physicians’ attitude toward their ethical responsibility regarding air pollution: a qualitative research
Saeedeh Saeedi Tehrani, Alireza Parsapoor, Saharnaz Nedjat, Maliheh Kadivar, Bagher Larijani


Air pollution is among the environmental problems that adversely affect people’s health. There is a close relationship between medicine and environment, and as a consequence, there are ethical considerations surrounding the problem of air pollution. The present research aimed to determine physicians’ attitude toward their ethical responsibility regarding air pollution, and their role in reducing it. This was a qualitative research using content analysis, conducted in Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The focus group included 21 physicians with specialties and subspecialties in pediatrics, infectious diseases, pulmonology, gynecology, and midwifery selected through predetermined sampling along with 13 personal in-depth interviews. A number of questions were asked regarding physicians’ ethical responsibility to decrease environmental crises, particularly air pollution.

As a result, 4 themes and 20 subthemes were extracted by assessing the focus group and interviews. These four general themes included the role of a physician as 1) an ordinary person, 2) a special citizen and a role model, 3) a professional person with special personal and social commitments, and 4) an administrator of the healthcare system.

In the present research, physicians acquired a special attitude toward air pollution.  The research population mentioned physicians’ impact as role models for the society, as well as their educational, supervisory, informative, promotional, and administrative roles among their most important obligations regarding air pollution. It is recommended to conduct further studies on physicians’ knowledge, attitude and practice regarding their responsibility toward environmental issues in order to investigate this important matter further.


Air pollution, Physician, Professional commitment, Ethical responsibility, Environment

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