Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Great Ormond Street: great expectations

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 14 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1934
  1. Sophie Cook, editorial registrar, BMJ
  1. scook{at}

    Sophie Cook reviews a documentary about a world class hospital where clinicians are often expected to work “miracles” in cases of last resort, often against the odds

    Few hospitals are as internationally renowned as Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London. This three part BBC documentary, which was a year in the making, explores how such worldwide recognition can lead to high expectations among patients and their families and how reality can’t always measure up.

    The documentaries highlight how, as scientific and clinical knowledge rapidly accumulates, parents often arrive at Great Ormond Street Hospital with high hopes that the expert staff and new technologies can help, but sadly this is not always the case. Just a few years ago many of these children would have died, but as medicine advances and children with previously fatal conditions continue to defy the odds, it becomes all the more difficult for staff and parents when there is nothing more to offer. The programmes show how parents will desperately fight for their children to be treated and the ethical dilemmas that this poses to health professionals who often disagree that further invasive treatment is …

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