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J Med Ethics 7:34-36 doi:10.1136/jme.7.1.34
  • Research Article

Even dying must be edited: further thoughts on Joan Robinson.

Abstract

"Joan Robinson: One Woman's Story' is a cinéma vérité style record of a woman's losing struggle against ovarian cancer. The film has been shown now twice on the American Public Television Network. It has received good notices primarily from the lay press. Yet the film depicts much that is out-of-date and much that is debatable. In general, we feel that it presents a depressing picture of the cancer patient. This was not Joan Robinson's intention and her bravery only serves to highlight this picture of suffering with cancer. We point to specific flaws in the film. We then go on to account for why many reviewers seem to have been blind to these flaws. It is suggested that criteria for good works of art, for good public health information, and for admirable personal traits were confused.