Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 07 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:866

What's been your biggest mistake? In this year's Christmas BMJ we want to include a collection of short articles about mistakes people have made. Your mistake might have been clinical, career, or otherwise—but if you refer to an identifiable person, before we can publish your story we will need written consent from that person or a relative. For advice, please go to and look at “fillers.” The deadline for receipt (which must be via our electronic submissions system) is 15 November.

Geriatricians deal with frailty. To intervene successfully, a variety of issues need to be addressed simultaneously, and such complexity consumes a great deal of health care. The trouble is that our healthcare systems have largely been designed to care for people who have only one thing wrong with them, and yet their chief users are those who have many things failing. Writing in Age and Ageing (2004;33: 429-30), two Canadian geriatricians argue that all of the wrong ways to address such complexity involve wanting old frail people to go away, to some more appropriate place, …

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