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BMJ Case Reports: case study

BMJ Case Reports

"Publishing our articles and research helps us to share our clinical practice to a wider audience. It helps them to consider different and often better ways to manage patients."

BMJ Case Reports helps healthcare professionals at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton to publish research for professional development and share clinical practice with a wider audience.

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton have a subscription to BMJ Case Reports, an online resource from BMJ that delivers clinically important information on common and rare conditions. BMJ Case Reports is also a platform for healthcare professionals who want to write and publish their own research papers. 

Beth Rawson Deputy Library Manager for the Library Knowledge Service, told us about the challenges she faces and the impact the BMJ Case Reports subscription has on staff working across all areas of the trust:

“The best parts of my role are undertaking literature searches for the research and development team and getting out and about in the wider trust. I’m based in the library, but many of my clinical librarians have regular ward rounds and go to different team meetings. 

We provide the research for free on behalf of the users when it’s related to service improvement and patient care, and it’s nice knowing the impact we’ve had. 

The main challenges we face in supporting the doctors and nurses are finding the time to see them and providing financial resources. There are lots of things that they’d love us to have but we just can’t afford. Burton also has non-tertiary sites with no libraries – BMJ Case Reports is brilliant because staff can submit articles remotely from their office. 

I think publishing research is important for healthcare professionals, professional practice and networking. Junior doctors are required to publish research as part of their continuing professional development. When we receive new medical students, we ask them during their induction to look up who’s teaching them and what they’ve published.”

Beth explains where BMJ Case Reports can be most beneficial: “We heard about BMJ Case Reports at the Health Libraries Group conference. We looked at the cost and decided to purchase it as a department, rather than having every single person paying for it each time.

It’s particularly helpful for our junior doctors because it encourages them to publish research. Not many people can afford to pay to be published. Subsequently, we’ve produced some really interesting articles and it was brilliant to share that knowledge with other people; they’re very simple as it’s just someone else’s experience. 

We like having BMJ Case Reports in our trust because it’s nice to offer this resource to our users and say to people, ‘You don’t have to pay; we’re here for you.’ It means we can be very supportive and help them with the cost since that might prohibit people. So for us, it’s a useful marketing tool as a way of getting people involved with the library. 

We raise awareness of BMJ Case Reports at our trust through our library website with its own icon, and whenever we do an induction we’ll mention it. It’s also shared through word of mouth and promotional materials that we share with staff throughout the trust, sent to us by BMJ. 

From the conversations I’ve had with my consultants, it’s very straightforward to use, and the fact that there’s no cost to them is an excellent initiative. It can be quite intimidating to write for publication if you’ve not done it before, and a lot of people that use BMJ Case Reports haven’t. But the feedback we’ve had has been very positive, and the guidance BMJ provides on how to construct a case report is excellent. 

I would recommend BMJ Case Reports because I think the process really works well and our healthcare professionals keep coming back to it.” 

Matt Walters is a Consultant Anaesthetist and College Tutor at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. His work focuses on obstetrics, paediatrics, breast surgery and head and neck surgery. 

“The best part about my role is speaking with the patients before they go off to sleep and the clinical variety I see from week to week. The main challenges I face at work are the politics and computer systems, but my goals for the year ahead are to achieve a more healthy work, life balance. 

Publishing our articles and research helps us to share our clinical practice to a wider audience, and help them to consider different ways to manage patients. 

Using BMJ Case Reports, I was able to submit an article we wrote about one particular patient: a very anxious man with a large tumour partially blocking his trachea required an emergency operation to debulk the tumour, ideally without having a tracheostomy. 

We gave him a sedative (IV clonidine), then 2 types of anaesthetic (inhalational and intravenous) to induce deep anaesthesia before successfully intubating his trachea. This process meant we were able to avoid a tracheostomy.

I hope that my article will teach other anaesthetists that it is an option to sedate patients with stridor from airway obstruction carefully in certain circumstances. 

It’s important to include the patient’s perspective in articles because in this case, the anxiety of the patient significantly affected our ability to manage his airway. He was very happy with our care. Textbook teaching would suggest he needed a tracheostomy under local anaesthetic without sedation, but this would have been very difficult for him to tolerate.” 

Walters M, Constable N, Thomas C, et al Acute presentation of a partially obstructing laryngeal tumour: adjuvant agents to gaseous induction of anaesthesia Case Reports 2018;2018:bcr-2018-224700 

If you have a clinical case you would like to submit to BMJ Case Reports, please contact your library. For more information on how to make sure your case report is accepted, simply download this guide and follow these easy steps


Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) and Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (DTHFT) recently merged to form the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. 

The trust is made up of five hospitals and a total of 12,000 staff, who care for patients in southern Derbyshire and South East Staffordshire.