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Eyewitness in Erewhon academic hospital
  1. Inez de Beaufort,
  2. Frans Meulenberg
  1. Erasmus MC/University Medical Center, Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence toDr 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}

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Part 12: The fall of the house of ethics

‘Sometimes a cliché is the best way to make ones point’

From: Whatever works.

For some seconds Gordon is blinded by the lights the television crews direct at him. More than 20 cameras focus on him, and one journalist yells “there he is!” Even Gordon is not used to that much attention, but vanity is a speedy advisor. Within seconds he has clad himself in the aura of important person, and knowledgeable ethicist, even if he has no idea what that many journalists expect from him at precisely this moment. Particularly when he has little time, preparing for the world conference on bioethics in Singapore. Then a wave of disappointment hits the gathered gossip-mongering press. The floodlights are turned off, microphones are lowered, the buzzing quiets down.

“Guys, this is not Testosterone Tony.”

This Tony, the athlete who participated in the Olympic Games in Beijing, at that moment leaves the hospital by a back door, far away from the paparazzi. The armoured car of his sponsor Nanosock disappears from sight softly humming and brings him to a private clinic where he will be pampered and detoxified . His career in sports is over, but his reputation can certainly sell sports socks with nanofibres against sweaty feet. The only price he has to pay is to admit he has sweaty feet, not true, but a small price to pay considering the alternatives.

In front of the hospital the disappointed and somewhat offended Gordon tries to save his ego and asks the journalists:

“Maybe I can be of help? Do you want an ethical analysis of Testosterone Tony and enhancing evolution? My name is Gordon Mc….” Nobody listens, nobody reacts.

A day later. Nurses Jake and Gwen return from the medication round. Jake looks at the unlit room in the Nuttree …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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