Observations BMJ Confidential

James Le Fanu: Questioning those with the answers

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h513 (Published 04 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h513

Biography

James Le Fanu, doctor, writer, and free thinker, has spent the past 30 years shedding light in places that others believed to be already well illuminated. Never content to take yes for an answer, in his columns for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and in his books, Le Fanu peers with an unfailingly sceptical eye at the shibboleths of healthcare, from diet (Eat Your Heart Out, 1986) to medicine (The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine, 1999) and genetic determinism (Why Us?, 2009). Prescient and provocative, Le Fanu is the goad to keep doctors humble and scientists on the right track.

What was your earliest ambition?

I fancied myself as a medical missionary, doing good in exotic places.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

The fortitude and good humour of the common man (and indeed woman)—particularly the thousands of patients and Telegraph readers …

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