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Focus: current issues in medical ethics.
  1. A Davis,
  2. G Horobin


    The current debates about seat belts in motor cars and the evils of smoking may only be straws in the wind if the scenario sketched in this paper were translated into a social, political programme. Then 'illness would increasingly be seen as a failure to keep healthy and thus culpable. The failures [the patients] ... must either be irresponsible and hence punishable at least by the imposition of financial penalties or insane and thus in need of corrective therapy.' If this sounds like 1984 the reader must read the whole argument set out in this paper and make his own judgment. He may not be encouraged by what he reads but he will be forewarned. There is no answer to the question, What shall I do, if this prophecy is true?

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