Archie’s case underlines the growing crisis over the lack of trust many ordinary people have in medical professionals. Nobody wants to go back to absolute deference to doctors, but is there an alternative to furious hostility and judges having to rule on care decisions? Doctors and patients also need to wrestle with a new participant in these vexed and fraught conflicts – the public, newly involved in these cases via social media and online campaigns. But is it helping to have activists turning these unique and tragic stories of deeply sick children into grist for the culture war mill?


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