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Background: Being a doctor remains a moral enterprise as he is expected to make some medical decisions based on ethical principles during encounter with patients.
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the knowledge and application of medical ethical principles amongst physician groups in a Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional self-assessed study conducted amongst medical doctors in five specialty groups in a teaching hospital in Enugu, Nigeria.
Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to summarize the items and determine whether significant differences on knowledge and application of medical ethics existed amongst the physician groups in the treatment of patients.
Findings: Observance and compliance with medical ethical conduct was highest among doctors that were aged 55 years and above. In sex, male doctors had higher ethical conduct compliance than female doctors. Comparing the doctors by rank, medical officers, consultants and senior registrars respectively had the highest ethical conduct.
Conclusions: Knowledge and practice of medical ethics were mostly deficient among younger Nigerian and female doctors. Remedying the situation will require better curricula both at the undergraduate and post-graduate medical school programmes for doctor trainees. Requiring certification in bioethics for license renewal will also help in resolving and improving the knowledge gap.
Keywords: Professional; ethical; conduct; doctors; patients; survey; Nigeria; hospital.