Clinical ethics is a practical discipline that provides a structured approach to assist physicians in identifying, analyzing and resolving ethical issues in clinical medicine. The practice of good clinical medicine requires some working knowledge about ethical issues such as informed consent, truth-telling, confidentiality, end-of-life care, pain relief, and patient rights. Medicine, even at its most technical and scientific, is an encounter between human beings, and the physician's work of diagnosing disease, offering advice, and providing treatment is embedded in a moral context. Usually, moral values such as mutual respect, honesty, trustworthiness, compassion, and a commitment to pursue shared goals, make a clinical encounter between physician and patient morally unproblematic. Occasionally, physicians and patients may disagree about values or face choices that challenge their values. It is then that ethical problems arise. Clinical ethics is both about the ethical features that are present in every clinical encounter and about the ethical problems that occasionally arise in those encounters. Clinical ethics relies upon the conviction that, even when perplexity is great and emotions run high, physicians and nurses, patients and families can work constructively to identify, analyze and resolve many of the ethical problems that arise in clinical medicine.