July 3, 2020
AliExpress WW

Covid-19: science advisers have more to do than just voice their concerns behind closed doors

AliExpress WW
  1. Minesh HashuConsultant Neonatologist
  1. Corf Mullen, UK
  1. mineshkhashu {} on gmail.com

Abbasi raises an important issue of conscience and duty for scientific advisers in the Covid 19 pandemic.1

AliExpress WW

We expect all government officials to abide by the principles of Nolan 2, but again and again we find that many of them fail. This criterion is even more stringent for scientific and medical consultants who, by virtue of their profession, are the custodians of science and truth.

Leading roles in government, right or wrong, “train” such professionals to learn the art of compromise, but there must be limits to this. When precious lives are at stake and honesty is threatened, such professionals should not defend politicians or the government apparatus, but should openly speak out and emphasize the “truths”, no matter how difficult or inconvenient they may be.

Scientific consultants should not hide behind the notion that they are only “advising”, and the final decision does not belong to them. If the final decision is wrong and life-threatening, they must do more than just voice their concerns behind closed doors. We expect that our senior scientific and medical leaders will have the honesty and courage to uphold what is right.

To be a witness is a choice, a choice to be an accomplice.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with the terms and conditions of the BMJ website for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until the BMJ determines otherwise. You can use, download and print the article for any legal, non-commercial purposes (including extracting text and data), provided that all copyright and trademark notices are preserved.

https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage

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