Fillers

A SUMMONS THAT CHANGED MY PRACTICE

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6981.704a (Published 18 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:704

A lower threshold for referrals

In retrospect that morning had seemed deceptively safe. A full surgery was punctuated by a welcome coffee break. Paperwork was tackled with a fair degree of success, if not pleasure. The normal background noise of familiar general practice abounded: prescriptions, interruptions, housecalls.

The summons was delivered by two uncomfortable and visibly embarrassed men in ill fitting business suits. One read a legal statement as if it were a school poem, learnt by rote and with no inflection. The summons and copies were then handed to each partner from the practice. I remember us standing in a row with a variety of expressions: angry, perplexed, bemused, humiliated.

I was the doctor who had failed to diagnose the testicular torsion some three years earlier. The patient was …

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