The genesis and correction of unprofessional behavior in surgeons: The role of society, education and genetics

Jamsheer Jehangir Talati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Most surgeons are ethical. Increasingly, however, a variety of unprofessional behaviors are surfacing. Awareness of these behaviors and their causation is required to plan their eradication. Objectives: To (i) identify the prevalent causes of unprofessional behaviors amongst surgeons; and (ii) suggest corrective interventions. Methods: Literature was searched and models constructed to interpret interrelationships between causes. Findings: Unprofessional behaviors extend beyond those frequently discussed, necessitating the term 'dysprofessionalism'. Causal influences arise from (i) an overpowering society; (ii) limited education and (iii) the underdeveloped state of human nature at birth.Societies corrupt by role-modeling avarice and encouraging industry-despite consequent pollution. Society brooks no interference. Surgeons are loath to oppose, resulting in an unprofessional silence.Surgical education based on best evidence is an indoctrination, with little opportunity to deploy alternatives. Evidence based guidelines increasingly risk errors, as publication fraud increases. Effective interaction with government/legislation is not taught.Human nature and our brain remain arrested in a stage of strongly stabilized evolutionary selection. Humans are born with larval brains requiring intense educational interventions.Genetic modification holds promise as it can circumvent birth in undeveloped states, and facilitate trans-generational transfer of knowledge. CRISPR/Cas-9 techniques make this possible, necessitating ethical discussion-an urgent issue. Reforming society would otherwise be an impossible task as behaviors cannot be taught in classrooms. Conclusion: Instances of dysprofessionalism are unlikely to diminish using current approaches. Discussion of the ethics of genetically modifying embryos is urgently needed, as this could provide a possible shortcut to positive changes in human behavior, but risks unwanted changes and misuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Genetics
  • Human nature
  • Influence of society
  • Liberalised vs indoctrinating education
  • Neoteny
  • Philosphers
  • Politics of society
  • Pollution
  • Unprofessional behaviors


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