Intended for healthcare professionals


Ulysses syndrome

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 26 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1268
  1. Charles Essex, consultant neurodevelopmental paediatrician (
  1. Child Development Unit, Gulson Hospital, Coventry

    What are the two hardest things to do in medicine? To say nothing (or “I don't know”) and to do nothing. We have all felt parents' disappointment at the end of a consultation. So, rather than discharge their child, we offer a follow-up appointment, hoping that by then the parents will be more accepting of the situation or that they will be seen by a different doctor. However well meaning our action may be, it medicalises the child's condition: the parents may well feel that their child must have a serious problem because he or she is “under” a specialist.

    We might also request another test, and risk inducing …

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