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Monday, April 18, 2011


I do not know how the obligations of a doctor can be squared with assisting in lethal injection. Two states prohibit doctor involvement, as does the AMA (which can do not much more than kick a doctor who helps out of the AMA). There are a number of states that are ambiguous, and there are states where amateurs are doing the lines for the lethal injection, producing events like a couple of botched executions in Ohio (one leading to a defendant surviving...).

Dr. James's role seems analogous to me to the doctors helping kill inmates.

Your example of a psychologist or psychiatrist reading files for an employer is interesting to me because it highlights the different obligations of health care professionals and a lawyer-- I'd look at that and say "who is my client here" and my duties would run to the employer who hired me. There'd be a question whether I wanted that sort of work, but not an ethical dilemma. Your duties, though, run to the subject-- e.g. patient-- of the analysis (at least that's what I'm hearing you to say), and thus there's an automatic conflict/double bind. I suspect that lawyers set up this mechanism, and at least some health care professionals play along without thinking about where their duties run.

I've encountered a similar breakdown comparing the duties of a social worker to those of a lawyer. As I said, a lawyer has a client-- an identifiable person/entity to whom the duties run. A social worker has duties that can run to the community or the situation (the nursing home, etc.), and conversations between a lawyer representing, say, an elderly person, with a social worker in the same context can lead to confusion-- the lawyer thinking "who exactly are they acting for here?" and the social worker thinking "why are the looking at this with such tunnel vision and not at the overall context?"

I have heard a little about this matter, but not in the detail provided by your blog. Frankly, as a non-attorney, I see no nexus between Dr. James' off-shore activities and the Ohio Board of Psychology, particularly since he may have been acting under the aegis of the CIA and matters of national security MAY have been involved. I find it, uh, ironic(?) that Dr. James is not a defendant...

Inasmuch as I live here (Ohio), I am aware of the knee-jerk mentality of conservatives (and liberals)alike. It is not tunnel vision anymore. It might be more a matter of FUNNEL vision. But, hey, attorney's have to make a living too. And to pay off those massive student loans?

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