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Negligence and abortion - doctors' duty of care challenges and potentials in light of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board

Caterina Milo, AHRC PhD candidate in Healthcare Law and part-time tutor at Durham Law School

This paper is exploring how the Supreme Court Judgment in Montgomery affects doctors' duty of information disclosure in the abortion context. Through an analysis of the materiality test of information disclosure, it will seek to highlight both challenges and potentials for the doctor-woman relationship in the abortion setting. In particular, it will ask how doctors’ duty to information disclosure should be interpreted in this context in light of two principles of medical partnership and authentic autonomy.

The Supreme Court judgment in Montgomery marked a crucial step in the debate concerning doctor-patient relationship and informed consent. Patients and doctors are no longer to be regarded as antagonists, but as partners striving for the delivery of the best healthcare outcome for the patient. At the same time this judgment recognizes that the information disclosure process would serve patients’ needs and values. Montgomery hence made a room for both medical partnership and patient’s autonomy.

The aim of this paper is to show that Montgomery has the potential, amongst others, to shape doctors’ duty of care well beyond the mainstream medicine context and affect also the abortion arena. It will highlight the crucial role played by informed consent discourses in the abortion context, while also suggesting possible ways to minimize still existent challenges so as to better safeguard both medical partnership and a thick concept of autonomy (i.e. authentic).


White Coats, Stethoscopes, and Picket Signs

Joseph Schnitter, Medical Student, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

In this presentation, I will explore the role of activism in the medical field and whether it is appropriate for doctors to assume this role. I hope to demonstrate why activism to promote structural change in the pursuit of improved patient well-being is in-line with the values of the medical profession and the principles of medical ethics. Additionally, I will highlight the major criticisms against doctors working as activists and show that they either don’t hold up to scrutiny or are not significant enough to outweigh the benefits of this work. Therefore, doctors who work as activists are worthy of commendation and their work should be actively encouraged by medical institutions.