The Society of Thoracic Surgeons recognizes the important ethical obligations members have to their patients, other health care professionals, and the medical community in general. The Standards and Ethics Committee, under the direction of the STS Board of Directors, represents STS in matters relating to standards of conduct in the specialty, medical ethics, and discipline involving Society members.

Ethics-Related Policies

In addition to arbitrating ethical issues that arise regarding members, the Committee has developed policies related to various aspects of cardiothoracic surgery, from advertising to the performance of live surgery. Recent examples of the Committee's work are the Society's Ethical Standards for Cardiothoracic Surgeons Relating to Industry and Guidelines for Using the Cardiothoracic Operation as a Teaching Instrument. The Committee was also responsible for developing an overall Code of Ethics for the Society, which was originally adopted by the STS Board of Directors in October 2006 and most recently amended in October 2009.

Expert Witness Program

Since 2003, STS has been very active in promoting fair and ethical physician expert witness testimony. Central components of this initiative are:

Ethics Complaints

Pursuant to the Procedural Guidelines for Handling Ethics Complaints Against STS Members, the Committee is responsible for handling all ethics complaints that touch upon alleged violations of other Society policies, including the Statement on the Physician Acting As An Expert Witness and the Code of Ethics.

For more information regarding the Standards and Ethics Committee or the Society's initiatives in the ethics arena, please contact us.