Confessions of a Doctor, TV review: Difficult to watch but compassion was there to see

 

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The Independent Culture

Channel 4 featured the often morbid memories of veteran doctors in Confessions of a Doctor (Channel 4), which followed on from last week's Confessions of a Copper.

Confessions... asked a question that precisely no one thinks has a positive answer viz medicine, namely, "Were things better in the good old days?" If you've watched Clive Owen carving bloody murder in Sky Atlantic's The Knick, you'll know the answer is a general-anaesthetic-strength NOPE.

And while it looked like it was all going to be a bit more Confessions of a Window Cleaner – opening as it did on doctors reminiscing about bonking in cupboards with the "lovely nurses" before quickly alighting on the tale of a quickie, off-the-books, abortion – it wasn't all jolly archive footage of graduates reciting the Hippocratic Oath in dodgy corduroy. The same doctor who obtained the abortion revealed that he'd later turned to God and would do his utmost to convince girls to go through with their pregnancies.

Then, later, one of the talking heads was Dr Howard Martin, who was struck off for hastening the deaths of terminally ill patients. Here, Martin eloquently explained his reasons for giving patients painkillers that might have ended their (soon to end) lives. It was difficult to watch, though Martin's compassion – rather than confession – was there to see.

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