MARSHALL B. KAPP, J.D., M.P.H.
To the editor: The article by Thomasma (1) will no doubt inspire serious and heated debate among physicians, ethicists, and attorneys concerned with the physician-patient relationship. I wish to comment on one sentence in the paper that, although minor in terms of the whole article, represents a widespread and serious misconception that cries out for correction.
In his defense of weak paternalism, Thomasma asserts that "an action may need no justification if the patient is not competent to give consent due to age or mental status." The implication, which is generally accepted, is that old age alone is sufficient legal
KAPP MB. Age and Mental Incompetence. Ann Intern Med. ;98:669–670. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-98-5-669_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(5_Part_1):669-670.
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