Most patients don't read the BMJ Editorial by Smith and Education and debate pp 1000-11BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7136.1026a (Published 28 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1026
- James J Rankine, lecturer in diagnostic radiology
Colleagues stopped me in the corridor to discuss it. Others wrote of their own similar experiences on Christmas cards that year. The reason for this sudden rush of attention? I had written a personal view in the BMJ(17 December 1994, p 1666). No research paper I have written has provoked such a response. It led me to believe that most doctors read the personal view section. But since 1994 there have been changes at the BMJ, and if the article had been submitted today it would not have been accepted. The issue is one of patient consent.
The personal view contained details of a father's response to being confronted with the diagnosis of Down's syndrome in his newborn son. I was aware that he might recognise himself from the details but was confident that others would not identify him. So far, no litigation having resulted, it seems I am in the clear, although having drawn attention to it again might prove to have been a risky move. I would not have sought the patient's consent as this would have merely brought the article to …