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Ted Shotter's founding of the London Medical Group (LMG) 50 years ago in 1963 had several far reaching implications for medical ethics, as other papers in this issue indicate. Most significant for the joint authors of this short paper was his founding of the quarterly Journal of Medical Ethics (JME) in 1975, with Alastair Campbell as its first editor-in-chief. In 1980 Raanan Gillon began his 20-year editorship (after which 5-year appointments extendable for up to 2 further years were instituted!). Gillon was succeeded in 2001 by Julian Savulescu, followed by John Harris and Soren Holm in 2004, with Julian Savulescu starting his second and current term in 2011. In 2000 an additional special edition of the JME, Medical Humanities (MH), was published, under the founding joint editorship of Martyn Evans and David Greaves. In 2003 Jane Macnaughton succeeded David Greaves as joint editor. Deborah Kirklin, under whose auspices MH became an independent journal, took over in 2008, and she was succeeded in 2013 by Sue Eckstein. This short paper offers reminiscences and reflections from the two journals’ various editors.
From the start the JME was committed to clearly expressed reasoned discussion of ethical issues arising from or related to medical practice and research. In particular, both Edward Shotter and Alastair Campbell, each a cleric (one Anglican, the other Presbyterian), were at pains to make clear that the JME was not a religious journal and that it had no sort of partisan axe to grind.
Campbell's appointment as founding editor was something of a surprise, as the original intention had been to appoint a medical doctor, who (‘up to the elbows in blood’) could be expected to know medical practice from the inside. However, in 1972 Campbell, a Joint Secretary of the Edinburgh Medical Group, had published Moral dilemmas in medicine. …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.