Who killed Cock Robin?BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7146.1757 (Published 06 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1757
Recently, pages of newsprint have been filled with heartrending tales of families who lost babies under the knife of the Bristol surgeons. This week's Panorama, the subject of an unsuccessful injunction application by the General Medical Council, alleged that the NHS system failed to prevent the deaths. Tony Delamothe looks at the fallout for professional self regulation.
- Tony Delamothe
After the GMC's decision came the recriminations, followed by the questions that won't go away. Firstly, why weren't surgeons James Wisheart and Janardan Dhasmana stopped from operating on young children once their poor results became widely known? Immediate colleagues, their employer, the Royal College of Surgeons, and the Department of Health all knew—or had been told—how badly they were doing.
The behaviour of each of these came under scrutiny in the days after the judgment. The Guardian said that the GMC had warned several consultant colleagues that their conduct might also be open to question (30 May); the Independentspeculated that the forthcoming government inquiry would examine the involvement in the babies' deaths of up to a dozen senior consultants (1 June).
Why was the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust so slow to act? The Daily Mail …