Intended for healthcare professionals


Think before condemning

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 09 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:g

The Department of Health in London has made a dreadful and inexcusable mistake. It deviated seriously from its own rhetoric. The guilty parties should be tracked down, their names should be handed to the media, and then they should be taken out into the street, beaten, and sacked. Once this orgy of recrimination is over the BMJ will stop to consider the facts. I jest—perhaps tastelessly—but the Department of Health was last week far too quick to condemn.

What happened is that 24 patients in the north of England were treated with surgical instruments used to treat a patient who was later found …

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