Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 14 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:460

Doctors practising in Florida are outraged by orders from the state's medical board to submit fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or face a fine or jail (American Medical News 1999 August 2). Their fingerprints will be kept on file and used to identify bogus doctors practising without credentials. To add to the humiliation, the state's doctors have to present to a police station to submit their prints, which will be a novel experience for most of them. Strangely, chiropractors and chiropodists are also being targeted.

On the face of it, prescribing exercise for patients seems like a good idea Most people need to do more exercise and the health benefits are well established. Not everyone is fit enough to take exercise, however, and many general practitioners feel ill equipped to assess their patients' suitability for the prescription (British Journal of Sports Medicine 1999;33:387-8). The UK's Medical Defence Union suggests that doctors recommend exercise rather than prescribe it, unless they are happy to take responsibility for any mishap Thankfully, there is as yet no case law in this area.

Doctors may feel uncomfortable with the idea of ageism in medicine, but a survey of older Italians suggests that the public is happier …

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