BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7496.914 (Published 14 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:914

A questionnaire study from Norway draws attention to an underemphasised aspect of medical errors: the potentially devastating effect that they can have on the doctor responsible. One in three doctors admitted that they had been responsible for serious injury to a patient at least once. For a substantial proportion, the incident had had a negative impact on both their professional and private lives. Six per cent had sought professional help (Quality and Safety in Health Care 2005;14: 13-7).

General practitioners often groan when the latest health scare hits the headlines, anticipating a huge influx of worried patients. But the authors of a Danish study in the British Journal of General Practice (2005;55: 212-17) report that although more than a third of untargeted health messages in the mass media were recalled by patients, they found no significant relation between health messages and contact with GPs. Campaigns and drug advertisements are another matter altogether.

Minerva hopes to be on holiday when anaesthetists finally comprehend the meaning of “physician led” anaesthesia, spelt out in the revised edition of The Anaesthesia Team (Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, 2005). According to one anaesthetist, this “own goal” was not dreamt up by his own profession, although the current lack of anaesthetists certainly had been predicted in the …

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