Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 21-November-2003, Vol 116 No 1186
Another myth perpetuated
Although Ron Paterson’s recent viewpoint article ‘Informed consent in New Zealand: medical myths’ (http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/116-1183/628/)1 is timely and helpful, he perpetuates another myth in his denigration of the NZMA. He writes ‘in the aftermath of the [Cartwright] Inquiry, the New Zealand Medical Association newsletter warned of surgery postponed while patients queue for miles as doctors labour to attain the holy grail of informed consent’, and he uses a third party as a reference.
I was Editor of the newsletter at the time, the piece was a satirical one, and a light-hearted observation of the first iteration from the Department of Health as it was then. The work was done by people who were well meaning, but their main qualification was that they were not part of any medical organisation and the first draft was not practicable.
The NZMA was in the vanguard of work on informed consent – informed consent was a major theme of its Annual Conference in 1987, with experts from overseas, and that was two years before the report of the Cartwright Inquiry.
The Cartwright Inquiry gave impetus to the work, but it is a myth that the Inquiry was the start of the process, and incorrect to suggest that the NZMA was part of ‘medical resistance’ to it.
Dr Tony Baird
Auckland Gynaecology Group
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