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This paper describes the concept of a do-gooder: a person who does unwanted good. It illustrates why doing-good is a problem and argues that patients should not be compelled to do what is best. It shows the ways in which doctors covertly do-good and offers a critique of these. The discussion focuses on the example of the treatment of patients who attempt suicide.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Ethics

Publication Date





108 - 115


Analytical Approach, Death and Euthanasia, Beneficence, Ethics, Medical, Euthanasia, Passive, Humans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Paternalism, Personal Autonomy, Physician's Role, Physician-Patient Relations, Social Responsibility, Social Values, Stress, Psychological, Suicide, Attempted, Treatment Refusal