A 59 year old man with a persistent history of sexual abuse of children has requested castration to stop himself from reoffending. Dr Malcolm Alexander presents the man's case and highlights some of the ethical issues, and three psychiatrists and a lawyer comment on the request.
Ethical considerations in using orchidectomy for social control
Mr K is a 59 year old man with a long history of persistent sexual abuse against children. His abusive behaviour began when he was at school and continued into his marriage. He abused his own children, and, despite many periods of imprisonment, he continued to abuse children each time he was released. His last period of imprisonment was for 10 years.
During that last period in prison Mr K became determined to end his abusive behaviour and formed the idea that orchidectomy would solve his problem by curtailing his sex drive. He petitioned the prison doctor to this end and received his support. After his release Mr K was referred to a psychiatric hospital and admitted for assessment for several months.
While he was in hospital Mr K was offered chemical castration using goserelin but refused this because he regarded it as a temporary and incomplete solution. He wants a permanent solution to stop his abusive behaviour …