Personal Views

Doctor in trouble—a service committee hearing

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 26 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1088
  1. Stefan Cembrowicz

    The mistake was absurdly simple, caused great mischief, and was none of my doing. One Saturday night I was called to an inner city probation hostel to see an ex-athlete with a chronic tear to a thigh muscle. The patient complained of much pain and said that he was already taking paracetamol and “di-something” but was vague and unhelpful about the details.

    Medication is locked away at the hostel as the misuse of drugs (such as diazepam, dihydroco-deine, and even diamorphine) is widespread. The warden produced the paracetamol and cephradine from a cluttered safe, so I prescribed the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac (Voltarol), having supplied a dose from my bag.

    Three days later the surgery received a furious telephone call. The patient claimed that I had attempted to kill him by giving him a double dose of diclofenac (Voltarol) and promised legal action. He had previously been prescribed diclofenac in hospital and had …

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