Intended for healthcare professionals


Falling from grace

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 20 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:0

A doctor sits with his head in his hands beside the corpse of a young woman in a lacy, blue nightgown (p 1349). She's killed herself. The previous day she had asked the doctor to remove a non-existent wart. He'd missed her cry for help.

Morell Mackenzie, a leading ear, nose, and throat surgeon, was sent by Queen Victoria to treat the German emperor Frederick III (p 1360). He cast doubt on the diagnosis of malignancy made by German surgeons. He was wrong, and the emperor died. Mackenzie was ruined professionally. Two years …

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