Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 10 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c860
  1. Richard Hurley, assistant magazine editor
  1. 1BMJ
  1. rhurley{at}

    In February 2008 Roman Nikolaychik, a parliamentary candidate for the opposition Other Russia party, was detained without explanation in a psychiatric hospital, laments Tom Stoppard in the latest foreword to his play written three decades before.

    “Would a Soviet doctor put a sane man into a lunatic asylum?” the head of the hospital asks Alexander, the protagonist of Stoppard’s play. If he admits madness, his doctor has promised that he will be discharged and can see his son again. But Alexander’s only diagnosed pathology is to have publicly criticised the state. He knows that he is sane, and his conscience won’t allow him to …

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