Doctor says some hospitals too ready to apologise

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 02 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:256
  1. Katherine Burke
  1. London

    A senior doctor at the centre of the row about the elderly patient Rose Addis has explained why he felt duty bound to defend accident and emergency staff from political spin and name calling.

    In an interview with the BMJ, Professor James Malone-Lee from the Whittington Hospital, north London, spoke of his horror at seeing the Evening Standard story last week under the headline “abandoned in casualty.” The article claimed that Mrs Addis, aged 94, had been left unwashed and “caked in blood” for almost three days because of bed shortages.

    Professor Malone-Lee, who oversees the emergency department as medical director of the trust's medical directorate, said that he had investigated his legal position with trust managers before speaking out. And he was careful to stick to events already in the public domain to avoid breaching patient confidentiality.

    “I interpreted this story as a gross infringement of patient confidentiality. At the same time I'm very conscious that health service staff are subject to …

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