“Butchers and gropers”BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7172.1599b (Published 05 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1599
- Kamran Abbasi
From dangerous to salacious, the medical profession's indiscretions have been repeatedly laid bare in this Annus horribilis. Wisheart, Dhasmana, Ledward, Walmsley, and others have been named and shamed. They are probably only the tip of the iceberg. Horror stories of medical incompetence, arrogance, and libidinousness have filled newspapers; broadsheets and tabloids have been united in their condemnation of a profession unable to regulate itself except when it's too late.
Did you hear the one about the dodgy heart surgeons with the highest death rate in the country? Or the one about the gynaecologist who dressed in riding pants and told his patients that it was just bad luck that he'd bungled their operations? The fastest gynaecologist in the south east, he called himself. Then there's the dirty old GP who loved examining his female patients' naughty bits—unnecessarily. And the psychologist who mixed psychoanalysis with sex. And the physiotherapist who knew exactly where he wanted to stick his acupuncture needle. Even Caligula would have blushed, but the press have feasted daily on the medical professions' misery: sex and violence sell. Nurses are good, doctors are bad; patients are pure, doctors are evil.
It started with the Bristol inquiry in May. Cardiac surgeon James Wisheart and former chief executive Dr John Roylance were struck off by the General Medical Council after it was revealed that 29 of the 53 children operated on in Bristol between 1988 and 1995 had died—far higher than the national average. Consequently, the press were well prepared when the latest spate of medical blunders was revealed. The Sun, not known for a principled stand on matters of equality, cottoned on to the fact that the medical perpetrators were men and …