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The credibility gap

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 20 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1913
  1. Cliff Reid, specialist registrar in accident and emergency medicine
  1. Southampton

    “No offence,” said the mother of the asthmatic child, “but you're a casualty doctor; I think my child ought to see a paediatrician.” A few years ago this might have been an understandable request, but times have changed — haven't they? I was tempted to ask her how she thought a junior doctor in paediatrics would be able to offer more than a specialist registrar in accident and emergency medicine with anaesthetic experience and advanced paediatric life support training.

    Subsequently discovering that mum was a senior registrar in medicine at a neighbouring hospital brought home just how great a credibility problem our specialty still faces.

    The credibility battle is fought every working day. Many doctors seem uncomfortable when a casualty officer wants to discuss the management of a clinical problem, which comes under “their” specialty, failing to acknowledge that emergent presentations happen to be “our” specialty. Other specialists are often quick to criticise accident and emergency management, but it is not …

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