The lying doctor
As a doctor, is it ever morally justifiable to lie to—or indeed, for—your patient? This is one of the questions put before us in Peter Carson’s book, The Dying President and the Lying Doctor: The Fate of FDR, which examines the maelstrom of mystery and lies surrounding the health of the United States’s longest serving president—Franklin D Roosevelt (FDR).
Described by Carson as America’s “greatest wartime leader,” FDR served as president of the US from 1933 to 1945. He played a fundamental role in ensuring the entry of the isolationist US into the second world war and in determining the fate of post-war Europe. He died from a bleed to the brain early into his fourth term as president in 1945, in mysterious circumstances. To further the intrigue, his medical records had disappeared from a hospital safe within 48 hours of his death.1
The main focus of the book is