Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters “Alfie’s law”

Alfie Evans case: the good of the patient

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 04 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2439
  1. Malcolm L C Smith, medical director
  1. Southeastern Virginia Training Center, Chesapeake, Virginia, VA 23320, USA
  1. malcolm.smith{at}

All sides invoke the “good of the patient” in controversies such as the Alfie Evans case.1 Clarifying this term is helpful. The principle of autonomy has replaced what used to be the doctor’s responsibility and prerogative to make life and death decisions. This works well for patients with the capacity to consent to medical treatment. When the …

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