Views & Reviews Personal View

I refused to perform abortions: you don’t have to sacrifice your integrity to get ahead

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 25 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7015
  1. Anonymous

This doctor describes how tough she found it to stand by her beliefs while under the pressures of medical training and was advised to write anonymously

I remember my consultant shouting at me. We had been on excellent terms in the preceding weeks, and I had often marvelled at his dexterity as he operated, describing graceful surgical arcs as his hands cut and stitched. Now one of these hands was raised. I could not believe that he might actually hit me, not with all the theatre staff mesmerised by our confrontation. I flinched as he hurled an instrument past my head and it landed with a metallic clatter against the back wall.

“What do you mean, you won’t do it?”

It was a long time ago, when I was a junior doctor, and almost every procedure in my gynaecology job seemed to be either a dilatation and curettage (D&C) or a hysterectomy (it was before the days of endometrial ablation and the intrauterine system). The last patient on the list that morning was slipped …

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