Education And Debate

An Ethical Debate: Commentary: Too blunt an instrument?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7058.673 (Published 14 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:673
  1. Iona Heath, general practitionera
  1. a Caversham Group Practice, Kentish Town Health Centre, London NW5 2AJ

    Many ordinary family doctors reading this distressing account will feel a surge of relief that our uneasiness in this quintessential lose-lose situation is being aired at last. I am grateful for the candour of the writer, who knows how rarely the outcome of these interventions seems adequate.

    The stories of our adult patients remind us repeatedly of the disturbing prevalence and the damaging legacy of the sexual abuse of children. We are obliged to do all we can to protect children from this kind of damage, and to this end there is an incontrovertible requirement for doctors to work in close cooperation with other agencies. However, serious abuse of a child demands two responses from society: physical and …

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