Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 04 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1106

In 1984 a Department of Health working party decided to cut drastically the number of medical students entering British universities because the spectre of medical unemployment appeared on the horizon. A personnel officer at Cambridge University was quick to point out the shortsightedness of the arithmetic (The Times 11 February 1984). Rather than closing medical schools, he suggested recruiting more mature students in order to reduce the homogeneity of the medical profession. History's hard to swallow in light of the staffing crisis now hitting the NHS.

It has been said that a good physician appreciates the difference between postponing death and prolonging the act of dying. An American study that questioned whether specialists differ on do not resuscitate decisions found that specialists in chest and critical care medicine recommended do not resuscitate orders more strongly than cardiologists, general physicians, and junior doctors. Among the juniors, the strength of the order increased with clinical experience (Chest 2002;121:957-63).

After directing his energies for seven years to preventing direct to consumer advertising, David Kessler, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, has now recanted. Addressing drug and advertising executives in Boston last week, he admitted that his fears about …

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