Intended for healthcare professionals


Overreaction to the Paddington rail disaster may not be beneficial in the long run

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 11 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1578
  1. C K Connolly, consultant physician
  1. South Durham Health Care Trust, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Darlington DL3 6HX

    EDITOR—Years ago I remember Lord Rothschild in his Reith lecture describing how public opinion cannot put disasters into their proper context, resulting in distortion of expenditure on accident prevention. The Paddington rail disaster was tragic, but public response was the overreaction he might have predicted, particularly in view of the fire and initial overestimation of casualties. The editorial by Cocks does nothing to redress the balance.1

    The uninitiated reader could not guess that current systems require more than the mere missing …

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