Doctor Emmette Flynn: Befehl ist Befehl.

I had marked, in Google Reader, this Simple Justice post about a guy in Utah who was involuntarily catheterized by nurses at Sanpete County Hospital on orders of the police.

Catheterizing someone may be worse than what Emmette Flynn did on government orders, proctoscoping an unwilling patient. An ignorant doctor might think that retrieving crack cocaine from the patient’s rectum was medically beneficial, despite the fact that crack cocaine is not water-soluble, in a way that sticking a tube up a guy’s urethra is not.

But the medical ethics of either situation are clear: when the competent patient refuses to consent to some treatment, you don’t do it, whether it would benefit him or not.

Flynn’s and the nurses’ only defense is that they were acting on government orders. This defense was rejected for the doctors at Nuremberg. Surely it couldn’t work for the Sanpete County Hospital nurses or Dr. Flynn in San Angelo?

Emmette Flynn: Following Orders

Sadly, yes. Yes it could.

One response to “Doctor Emmette Flynn: Befehl ist Befehl.”

  1. I’ll bet if Stanley Milgram were still around, he wouldn’t be very surprised. I often add the word “Nazi” to things when people exhibit this sort of behavior. Although, with some of these people, I wonder if I’m giving the word “Nazi” a bad name.

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