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Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The debate on the "Goldwater Rule" resurfaced last week at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting: In the age of Trump, should psychiatrists be allowed to give their professional diagnosis of a public figure?

Background

The Goldwater Rule is an ethics guideline for members of the APA.

  • It was established in 1964 after Fact magazine published a survey from thousands of psychiatrists saying Barry Goldwater was psychologically unfit to be president — Goldwater later sued the magazine.
  • APA members are banned from giving professional opinions to the public about a public figure without consent and a direct examination.
The case for the rule:

In a piece soon to be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, former APA President Paul Applebaum raises what he notes as even more substantial concerns, "including the risk of harm to living persons and discouraging persons in need of treatment from seeking psychiatric attention."

And in March, the APA reaffirmed their support of the rule.

  • Diagnosis without consent violates principles of psychiatric evaluations.
  • Professional opinion without a direct examination compromises both the integrity of the psychiatrist and the profession.
  • They have the potential to stigmatize those with mental illness.
The case against it:

Nassir Ghaemi, Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts, was part of the APA symposium, and told Axios about his views:

  • Psychiatrists already diagnose patients without consent and use behavior and history from third parties as the basis — like patients taken to emergency rooms and patients who can't be trusted to understand their own symptoms, he said.
  • "That we shouldn't talk about psychiatric issues actually discriminates against psychiatric issues."
  • He views diagnosis as often beneficial and notes that some illnesses are associated with positive character traits for a leader, like creativity and realism.
  • Presidents subject themselves to a medical evaluation with the exception of metal health, which he believes further discriminates against psychiatric issues.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

The latest: Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Bill Clinton released from hospital following treatment for non-COVID infection

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was discharged from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Sunday, nearly a week after he was admitted for a non-COVID-related infection, according to his spokesperson Angel Ureña.

What they're saying: "His fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics," wrote Dr. Alpesh Amin, who has been overseeing the team of doctors treating Clinton. "On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress."

Worth noting: Clinton had a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, per CNN.

  • The California-based medical team had been administering IV antibiotics and fluids, and was in constant communication with Clinton's New York team, including his cardiologist, according to the former president's physicians.
  • President Biden spoke by phone with Clinton on Friday to see how he was doing, and the catch-up included a discussion of recent politics.