I shall examine and criticize three of the many judicial decisions in the area of law and medicine. These cases are Doe v. Bolton, Superintendent of Belchertown State School v. Saikewicz, and Rogers v. Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health. Those of you who like to think of the law as reason and justice tempered by mercy will be offended by what I have to say; but I shall be evenhanded. Those of you who think of medicine as science and art tempered by compassion will also be offended. My justification for the critical and polemical thesis I shall present is my deep and growing conviction that in law, as often as in medicine, the cure can be worse than the disease. There is a word in medicine for cures that create diseases-the word is iatrogenic. Law needs a similar word; let me suggest juridicogenic.


The Thirty-Second Cleveland-Marshall Fund Lecture