Education And Debate

Ethical issues

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 09 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:671
  1. Carl Elliott, assistant professora
  1. a McGill University Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1W9

    I have to confess that this story bewilders me. That three doctors over a period of two and a half years would refuse to refer a seriously mentally ill patient at the apparently reasonable request of the patient's distraught father seems baffling. That the father's reaction to this would be to submit a restrained article to a medical journal is even more surprising; in the United States, where I come from, he would probably have retained an attorney. Most bewildering, though, is the notion that there should be any question about a patient's right to a referral and a second opinion. To me it seems so self evident that a doctor should not …

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