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The answer to your question about data which may have indicated an
underperforming cardiac centre is clearly b, that is passing the data to
the appropriate NHS authorities should have been the approach. This would
allow a proper analysis and review (such as subsequently took place)
without causing all the distress and confusion to patients, families and
health care workers.
In return I ask two further questions.
a) Who has been damned following the publication? The families wrongly
traumatised by the misleading information, the clinical staff unfairly
criticised, the authors of the paper, the referees, the editorial staff at
BMJ, the credibility of BMJ as a solid scientific journal or all of these?
b) Is your use of the expression 'publish and be damned' and
acknowledgement of the inaccuracy of the data an apology for publishing
I work for Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS trust