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Doctors, Be Warned!

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:13pm

The former Health Minister, House of Lords, in this rather short and pithy correspondence, warns doctors to steer clear of the rather controversial issue of assisted death. Maybe its just me, or maybe the streak of rebelliousness that I harbor within that makes me look at this article with a lot of distaste and disgust. Well, here is the disclaimer: I hate to be told what to do or what not to, and this letter sure does look a lot like being told to stay clear of fields where our involvement might be detrimental for us!

The medical profession is the most toasted of all professions because in the public mind there is no ambivalence as to its purpose. It is there to treat, cure, and care for sick and disabled people. Once lawyers get involved the whole premise changes: bitterness, strife, and serious money take over, families are divided, and suspicion reigns.

I believe that doctors should actively play a role in making policies and spreading awareness regarding the sensitive issues like assisted suicide or whatever the policy makers decide to call it. To the patient, there is no bigger a relief than to know that there is a doctor who is willing to make difficult calls, positive or negative, if they are in the best interests of the patients. And as a hands-on kind of person, I strongly believe that it is an impossible affair to sit in air-conditioned board rooms and decide over policies like these (with limited or no clinical experience to back up the decisions, as is often the case in my country) over a shot or two of wine. If you need to make such policies, you need to talk to us, because, in the end we will be implementing them. Not you!


Disclaimer: I have a pathological hatred for self obsessed, red tapist bureaucrats!


Cumberlege, J. (2009). Doctors, steer clear BMJ, 339 (aug25 1) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b3422

Posted in Bioethics, Euthanasia, Health Economics, Health Policy, Journal Watch, Medical Student, Nuggets of Thought, Research Blogging Tagged: Bioethics, Euthanasia, Health Economics, Health Policy, Journal Watch, Medical Student, NerDoc, Nuggets of Thought, Research Blogging
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