Honour a physician with the honour due unto him

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 09 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:607
  1. Derek Summerfield, consultant psychiatrist
  1. CASCAID, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London

    A few years ago my general practitioner told me that anyone aged over 40 with upper abdominal discomfort needed investigating. At the local teaching hospital, a pleasant young doctor did a gastroscopy, which showed a mass in my stomach wall. I was sent for a barium meal. A consultant radiologist took the x ray films, instructing me briskly to turn this way and that but not otherwise paying me any attention. He told me to wait a few minutes while he checked the films to see if all the views were satisfactory. I sat alone in the room for about five minutes.

    From the moment the consultant re-entered I could see that he was slightly agitated. “I'm terribly sorry,” he called out as he came through the door at the far end. And …

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