When judges force doctors to abandon evidence based medicine.–Recent post at Dr. Jen Gunter’s blog.
When I was in graduate school–which I did not finish, ultimately going to law school instead–my intention was to study medical ethics and have some sort of career, positing ethics in medicine (I was young, my thoughts were vague, but I think there was some TV show with a character whose job it was to tell doctors when they were being unethical and I was sure that was a great job and I wanted it).
I guess I got lucky in that my ultimate career has a similar thrust: I look at justice systems and help identify what best practices are. There isn’t the moral judgment one associates with assessing the ethics of a medical practice. My work in life and death is less direct.
Bad judges, poor judicial practices, failure to coordinate services, prosecuting addiction instead of treating it–these things ruin lives and sometimes hasten deaths. Unfortunately, we don’t approach our judicial system with emphasis on the lives of the people who move through it. We examine and regulate it with an eye toward Law and Order, predictable outcomes, and efficient systems.
Thing is, systems are fine for protecting people, but systems are generally inadequate for protecting any given person.
At least the medical profession recognizes the impact its failures have on people; in law (particularly in criminal justice), we still refuse to name our failures “mistakes”. We cannot learn from error unless we do.