Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Head to head

Should smokers be refused surgery?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 04 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:20

Rapid Response:

Utility vs. Autonomy

Who does the most good? The paternalist who denies non-essential
treatment until the patient stops smoking, with the potential gain of a
lifetime of benefit to the patient? Or the idealist, championing
individual freedom at the common expense? And how much should we pay to
defend choice?

Perhaps a controlled trial comparing clinical coercion (witholding
surgery until the patient stops smoking) with a more laissez-faire
approach would shed some light on these questions. And take out some of
the heat.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 January 2007
Kiaran Asthana
Lakeside Medical Centre, Perton, Wolverhampton WV6 7PD