The wicked do not always prosperBMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7152.203 (Published 18 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:203
- Otto Fleming, retired general practitioner
- south Yorkshire.
When I was a student in Vienna in the 1930s great emphasis was laid on medical ethics. Our first lectures were in the anatomical institute where the inscription above the professor's lectern read in large letters: Primum non nocere (firstly, do no harm). Among other advice we were told never to admit to patients that they had a fatal illness, still less that they were about to die. It was assumed that they could not take such information, that they would be driven to despair and …