Intended for healthcare professionals


Breast implants: evidence based patient choice and litigation

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 13 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:414

The only safety lies in providing patients with full information

  1. J A Muir Gray, Director of research and development
  1. NHS Executive, Anglia and Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF

    The American plaintiff lawyer ranks high in the hierarchy of demons that haunt the quiet areas of a doctor's mind, but the plaintiff lawyer serves a useful and essential social function in a society in which the safety net for those who suffer severe health problems is gossamer thin. Tough, well organised, aggressive plaintiff lawyers, especially acting as a group, are a formidable force and they have achieved some spectacular successes—most recently in sponsoring and leading action against tobacco companies, whom they have brought to the bar of justice in the one country where they seemed most unassailable.1 Plaintiff lawyers can, of course, get things spectacularly wrong, as they did in the breast implant saga chillingly told by Marcia Angell in her book Science on Trial.2

    The book reinforces all our worst fears about plaintiff …

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