Intended for healthcare professionals

Personal Views

There are ethical issues in ophthalmology

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 24 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1153
  1. M P Clarke, consultant ophthalmologist
  1. Newcastle upon Tyne

    Some years ago my medical school introduced proposals for a new curriculum for undergraduate medical teaching. More time was required for subjects such as medical ethics, and specialties like ophthalmology were identified as surplus to requirements.

    The ophthalmologists held a meeting and decided that the proposal to drop ophthalmology from the curriculum was bad news for the quality of future referrals and recruitment into the specialty. Something had to be done and everyone else took a backward step. While I was organising the week long ophthalmology attachment for the new curriculum, I received a letter from the organiser of ethics teaching. Would I like to incorporate some ethics teaching into the ophthalmology attachment? No thanks, I replied, and anyway one of the attractions of ophthalmology was its moral simplicity. Acute red eyes, cataract surgery: no ethical …

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