Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A life at stake

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3509 (Published 18 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3509
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Not many doctors, I think, have been burnt at the stake, though I am sure we could all nominate some of our colleagues who deserve to be. Perhaps the General Medical Council will soon reintroduce the medieval tradition for those doctors who refuse to abjure their errors and heresies; if so, surely the television rights and admission fees to the events could help to keep the annual subscription fee constant for a year or two.

    The most eminent doctor ever burnt at the stake was Michael Servetus (1509 or 1511-1553), who studied medicine in Paris and managed the feat, difficult at the time, of being condemned to death for heresy …

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