Education And Debate

The moral philosopher's view The victim should decide

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7020.1620 (Published 16 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1620
  1. Grant Gillett, professor of medical ethicsa
  1. aBioethics Research Centre, Medical School, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand

    Professor Shepherd recommends a cooperative arrangement between accident and emergency and criminal justice services such as the police in an attempt to prevent injury. The justification for this arrangement is that increasing rates of conviction is an effective public health measure to prevent injury. The problem is then to reconcile this goal with victims' reluctance to pursue their complaint. This is not easy. It requires consideration of the ethics of disclosure of patient information beyond the therapeutic relationship, the conflict between respect for autonomy and protection from harm, and the ethics of intervention in the face of uncertainty.

    A patient's willingness to have the results of medical communications shared is, in general, the determining factor in deciding what a doctor or …

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