Why doctors should desist from being agents of the state

Just released files published by the Guardian.

“Intimate examinations – used to “check the marital status” of Indian and Pakistani women coming to Britain to marry – were on a far wider scale than was previously known.

The practice was banned in February 1979 after the Guardianexclusively reported that a 35-year-old Indian woman teacher was examined by a male doctor when she arrived at Heathrow to test whether she was a genuine wife-to-be who had not borne children and was still a virgin.

The Home Office initially denied that any internal examination had taken place.”

I am not aware of any body of evidence saying that physical examination can reliably detect virginity in any case, but this is an example of what happens when doctors do as they are asked to do by the state rather than what they should ethically do as medical professionals. Sadly, there are many other examples.

One Response to “Why doctors should desist from being agents of the state”

  1. Elizabeth (Aust) July 15, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Shocking…I agree doctors should never be compromised or act as agents for the Govt.
    It concerns me that our doctors receive undisclosed target payments for pap tests – most women are unaware of these payments.
    We have a brochure that does not inform, IMO, it misleads…
    We then have women turning to their doctor’s for advice or accepting their recommendation – never knowing their doctor has a potential conflict of interest.
    We also continue to test young women knowing it’s of no benefit, but risks their health and we test 2 yearly, knowing this increases false positive rates for no additional benefit.
    This testing causes so many negatives – fear, pain, embarrassment, over-treatment, cervical damage, premature babies….yet no one talks about the negatives. Our doctors are silent…
    We read this is the greatest screening test of all time – yet there are no randomized controlled trials, no regard for the huge number of women stressed and harmed (to some degree) by huge over-detection and over-treatment (we’re told these procedures and biopsies are “minor” in nature) – although most women are unaware of the fairly high risk of over-detection.
    The cancer is rare, always was and was in natural decline before screening started…
    Dr Gilbert Welch mentions that stomach cancer has fallen by a similar or greater margin with no testing at all…makes you wonder how many women are actually helped by this testing. Why do the rights of fewer than 0.45% (if anyone) override the rights of the vast majority of women?
    Very few women are giving informed consent for cervical or breast cancer screening in this country – we’re simply expected to comply in total ignorance or after accepting Papscreen’s/BreastScreen’s version of the “facts”.
    Talk about our doctors acting as agents for the Govt…the UK is lucky to have some amazing advocates for informed consent in womens’ cancer screening. I wish a few of you would move to Australia!