Letter: Protect the unborn child

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Sir: I grow increasingly weary of the accusations of arrogance levelled against the profession I joined nine years ago as a well-meaning and enthusiastic 24-year-old. I am ground down by the increasingly litigious nature of the doctor-patient relationship.

In your leading article (8 May), you present a story of a depressed, probably socially and emotionally isolated woman with unconventional but firmly held views which are highly likely to end in her and her baby's death in a pregnancy with which she was unhappy. How would you help her? Pre-eclampsia is one of a few genuine medical emergencies. It seems you would favour gently counselling her by her bedside while she died, fitting uncontrollably.

"What she got was Catch-22," you say. Try my headline: "Depressed and seriously ill mother-to-be and baby left to die in a van on her way to give birth in a barn in Wales - family to sue doctors". Can you understand why the profession feels up against the wall at times? Get sued, whichever way you turn. As a GP, I can tell you that life is full of "Catch-22s". Blame can almost never be neatly apportioned.

Dr RICHARD STANLEY

Baldock, Hertfordshire

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