I don’t understand how stuff like this happens:
According to the suit, police arrested Jamie Lockard, 53, on suspicion of drunken driving in March.
A Breathalyzer test showed he was under the legal limit, but Officer Brian Miller doubted the findings.
Lockard and his attorney claim in the suit that police took him to Dearborn County Hospital and forced him to submit to a urine and blood test.
Police said they obtained a warrant, but Lockard’s attorney said his client was shackled to a gurney and had a catheter inserted against his will.
Scott Greenfield discusses some of the legal issues in his post “Places No One Should Ever Go”, but I’m wondering about the medical ethics. I’ve been dealing with a lot of doctors lately, and they all seem to follow the ethical requirements that medical procedures should only be done (A) with the consent of the patient, and (B) for the benefit of the patient.
Sticking a tube up some guy’s penis to see if there’s evidence to convict him of a crime meets neither of these requirements, so I’m a bit surprised that medical personnel are willing to participate.
Knowing as little as I do about medical ethics, I decided to see what the AMA Code of Medical Ethics has to say. It’s huge, and not written for questions like this, but opinion 2.065 sounds like it might apply:
Physicians can ethically participate in court-initiated medical treatments only if the procedure being mandated is therapeutically efficacious and is therefore undoubtedly not a form of punishment or solely a mechanism of social control.
The forced catheterization was a test, not a treatment, but I wouldn’t think that would change the ethical question significantly.
I don’t think the warrant changes the situation much either. A judge may be able to force a suspect to submit to an investigative medical procedure, but I’m pretty sure there’s case law that a judge can’t force an uninvolved third party to perform the procedure.