December 1982

Of Morals and Mercy

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics Charing Cross Hospital (Fulham) Fulham Palace Road W6 8RF London, England

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(12):1100-1101. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970480066022

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London. —The prosecution—or should I say persecution—last year of one of our colleagues in a criminal court on a charge of murder is now a milestone in medical history. In the absence of a Falkland crisis to overshadow the event, the case commanded much public interest and exhaustive media coverage, leaving little unwritten or unspoken by the time the dust had settled. The jury's acquittal after only two hours' deliberation was hailed as a triumph of good sense and rectitude. The trial and its aftermath will go on rumbling for a long time. Life and death will also go on, but, for infants, neither can ever be the same again.

The main details are probably well known to readers. An infant with Down's syndrome was born at the Derby City Hospital, and the senior paediatrician was called in to confirm the diagnosis and to talk to the distraught parents. Derby,

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