The Goldwater Rule: “Do No Harm”


The current restrictions of the Goldwater Rule are there for a reason.



I appreciate Drs Blotcky, Pies, and Moffic’s replies to my letter, “Why the Goldwater Rule Should Not be Changed.”

Let us say that a psychiatrist firmly believed that a President’s cognitive functioning had slipped and that it was important for the public to be aware and informed, from a psychiatric specialist, about the nature of neurocognitive disorders (Parkinson disease, etc), making sure to follow the caveats in the revised Goldwater Rule.

Let us also say, that the cause of the President’s decline was actually an adverse effect of a prescribed medication. Once removed, the President returned to his prior level of mental acuity. The consequences of the psychiatrist’s attempt to educate the public would be permanent and unfortunate damage to the President’s reputation, a misinformed public, and damage to the trust that the public has placed in our specialty. I believe that the current restrictions in the Goldwater Rule would prevent this from happening, and it is also consistent with our need to “Do no harm.”

Dr Springer is a psychiatrist in Media, Pennsylvania, and is affiliated with the Coatesvile VA Medical Center. He has a general adult private practice and provides expert witness services.

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