Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Professional conduct

Doctors in court

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 24 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a975
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. 1BMJ
  1. claredyer{at}

    Will the General Medical Council’s new guidelines help allay paediatricians’ fears about acting as expert witnesses? Clare Dyer reports

    Roy Meadow must rue the day he agreed to give evidence at the trial of Sally Clark, the solicitor charged with murdering her two baby sons. In his 60s, and at the culmination of a long and distinguished career, the eminent professor of paediatrics was a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and had been knighted for his contribution to the cause of children’s health. Five years on from Mrs Clark’s successful appeal, his reputation among the wider public is in tatters, his name rarely appearing in print without the epithet “discredited.”

    Mrs Clark’s convictions were quashed only partly because of Professor Meadow’s misleading statistical evidence. (The main reason was the failure of the Home Office pathologist, Alan Williams, to disclose the results of microbiological results on tissue from one of the babies, which showed widespread Staphylococcus aureus infection.)

    Still, Professor Meadow was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and ordered to be struck off the medical register, despite the recognition that …

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