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Handicapped infants: medical ethics and the law.
  1. D D Raphael
  1. Department of Humanities, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.


    The main purpose of this paper (1) is to draw attention to a gap between the principles of Common Law and the principles accepted by many leading medical practitioners on the ethics of allowing severely handicapped infants to die. The Common Law principles are shown in Court of Appeal judgements on two cases. The contrasting principles of many paediatricians were illustrated at the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur. The paper suggests that the gap could be closed by statutory guidance on general principles. It also argues that utilitarian concepts misrepresent the ethical issues of medical dilemmas like this one.

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