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Eyewitness in Erewhon academic hospital
  1. I de Beaufort,
  2. F Meulenberg
  1. Erasmus MC/University Medical Center, Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Inez de Beaufort, Professor of Health Care Ethics, Erasmus MC/University Medical Center, Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; i.debeaufort{at}erasmusmc.nl

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PART 8: WUTHERING ETHICS

You aren't too smart, are you? I like that in a man. (From Body Heat)

Claire's parents are bewildered when Sarah, in her careful, direct but not harsh way, tells them what has happened. “What do you mean murdered? Here? In this hospital? Good grief. For years we cared for our fragile girl. Only because we got doggone tired of the caring and finally accepted the idea that she would be better off in the nursing home did we let her go. And now? You would think a sick person is safe in here.” The mother is crying, the father staring, both in shock. Then Captain Furillo, apologising profusely for having to do it, questions them. He doesn't get much information. No, nothing particular had caught their attention. Yes, of course she was depressed, off and on. What do you think? She got MS when she was 19. Yes, the doctor visited her regularly. He prescribed antidepressants. No, they didn't know whether she took them as she was supposed to. It seemed to help. No, of course she had no enemies.

The deafening sound of the fire alarm disturbs everyone but nobody panics or undertakes any particular action. It is the biannual evacuation drill in which the department—without having consulted the ethicists—refuses to participate.

Gordon McIntyre: “Let me think. Is a predisposition for monogamy an enhanceable characteristic? Sounds suitable for the Singapore conference. I just happened to read a fascinating guide on this subject, Monogamy for the advanced.”

“Yes, there must be a difference between beginners and the advanced.” Like many beautiful women, Laura Vandeveer is able to hide her dyed-in-the-wool irony behind a varnish of charm, impenetrable for men. Sheer impotence. Of men of course.

“Well, I will be only too glad to assist Jody,” Gordon suggests, …

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