interactions among human beings are very complex. using only an ethical code as reference to deal with moral conflicts is hardly ever enough. responsibility ethics demand such a profound reflection as well as a discussion about human essence and its role in society. the responsibility of a surgeon is inherent in a profession based since its origin, not only on altruism and humanity, but also on compassion, courage and tolerance. the studies and the comprehension of these qualities as well as the transmission of these values to the students and to the surgery residents are essential for human education of these individuals. this essay offers to show that these essential virtues are strongly connected to the work the surgeon develops whereas his/her responsibility starts before the surgery - when one intends to act.