Medicine: A Question of Ethics

It is the duty of every physician to treat those who come to him for help. Is it also his responsibility to turn in those patients who are sought by law-enforcement authorities? The question is more than academic. At the FBI's request, two medical journals published under American Medical Association imprimatur have printed "wanted" notices soliciting doctors' help in catching a suspect. This odd procedure raises serious ethical questions about the physician's responsibility to his patient.

In the February issues of the Archives of Dermatology and Archives of Internal Medicine, the articles ask for assistance in finding Roberta Brent Smith, 27, who...

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