Intended for healthcare professionals


Treating our own

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 17 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1505
  1. Philip Helliwell, senior lecturer in rheumatology (
  1. University of Leeds

    One advantage of being in the medical profession is that you can avoid the tedium and delays of seeing a doctor simply by hailing a colleague. Over the years I have been consulted by many members of the consultant staff and by many other professionals, medical and non-medical. A friend calls these “corridor consultations,” and he always feels a little compromised by them. As a dermatologist he is particularly vulnerable: surely, they think, he just needs to have a quick glance to identify the problem? The funny thing is that many of colleagues who approach you teach students the importance of a careful history and full examination before formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan. They would be horrified if you suggested that all they needed to do was have a quick glance at the problem and would rant on about Osler and Asher and the value of the clinical examination.

    I dread the words “I know you're not on duty”

    So, is it a question of “Do as I say, not as I do,” …

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