Personal Views Personal views

It can happen to anyone

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 20 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:985

This is a personal experience of negligence. I know the fear of an unplanned mistake that may lead to legal action. I would suggest that negligence, however, is different from this and is about true injustice to patients. Here is our story.

By the time we arrived at the delivery suite a lot had already happened. We had subfertility, the pregnancy had been difficult, and I had required long periods in hospital. At last I was in labour. I had no particular expectations and both of us felt that we would respect professional advice. This baby was too precious to risk.

Negligence … is a true injustice and an abuse of power

The labour was long and hard. Minor things started to go wrong. The epidural did not work and fell out and my waters were broken without my consent. The staff seemed hurried and some were offhand. The midwives complained about the doctors' decisions when they left the room.

No catastrophe yet—but perhaps the bedrock for a major event. I had already heard serious dips on the …

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