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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 11, 2004


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(6):766. doi:10.1001/jama.291.6.766-b

In Birmingham, England, the members of the medical profession have taken considerable exception to a circular sent out by the chief constable of that city, calling attention to the murder of a new-born child, and asking for information from any physician who had attended a woman who might have been the mother. The physicians object to being made detectives. In the London Lancet we note the Birmingham coroner's statement as follows:

There is a common law liability—a liability that is not specifically set down by act of parliament—under which it becomes the duty of a man, doctors included, to inform the authorities if he believes that a crime has been committed. But, of course, he can always please himself whether or not he does inform them. If he does not, then you have to prove that he has wilfully disregarded his obligation, and that, I can imagine, would not always be an easy matter.