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APA Ethics, Goldwater and Trump


Reports of spirited debate at this week’s annual APA meeting prompted me to tweet, “Will @APAPsychiatric tell us how many complaints have been filed with DB ethics committees related to Trump and #GoldwaterRule? #apaam17”

Not surprisingly, so far I see no response.

Many APA members have likely publicly diagnosed the President without examining him, which the Goldwater rule prohibits as unethical.

I suspect this matter represents another ethics failure revealing the hypocrisy rampant in physician organizations today.

How many APA members who support Trump have ignored the Goldwater rule and diagnosed him publicly? Probably not many.

If members of APA still believe it unethical to diagnose a public figure without examining them, ethics committees of their district branches should review every case under their jurisdiction and pass judgement without consideration of politics, and they should not wait until someone files a formal complaint. Failing that, APA should abandon the Goldwater rule once and for all.