Letter: Ms S: does the medical profession always know best?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Seeking the help of a doctor is an act which imposes obligations on the patient, namely to realise that doctors, once a problem is placed in their hands, have duties and obligations as well. Those duties and obligations may well conflict with the wishes of the patient.

It is not good enough simply to criticise the doctors. If Parliament is not happy to leave the Mental Health Act decision to them, then it ought to appoint and pay for a suitable duty judge on site, who can decide, with binding judicial authority, whether treatment is to be administered or not. Whether putting a lawyer in charge of doctors is a good thing would remain to be seen. My view is that it would be a good thing for the doctors. Patients would not have to suffer any medical professional arrogance, which undoubtedly exists, and the doctor wouldn't have to take the flak for the decision which was made.


Guildford, Surrey