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When a doctor is suspended so is family life

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 17 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:683

When I saw the case of the Bristol paediatric surgeons, whose names were removed from the register after the deaths of several babies, reported on television I thought nothing of it. It was just another piece of news. I am ashamed to say that if I did react I probably thought “bad surgeons got by good anaesthetist.” I certainly did not think about the feelings of the surgeons and their families at the time, nor that such a situation was ever likely to happen to me.

Suspensions must be short and justice served quickly

Then, of course, it did. When it all started, three years ago, my parents concealed the facts from me. This was a selfless act, as I was sitting important exams at the time.

I continued in blissful ignorance for six months, until, two days before Christmas, I received a frantic telephone call from my father, who warned me that “there might be some people asking questions.” Shortly after the conversation I went out—I had intended to deliver a Christmas present to a friend. …

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