Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2010: Reading between the Lines

Pie sharing in complex clinical collaborations: a piece of cake?

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 10 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6641
  1. K T Buddingh, research physician,
  2. G M van Dam, surgeon,
  3. L M A Crane, research physician
  1. 1Department of Surgery, University Medical Centre Groningen, Post Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, Netherlands
  1. k.t.buddingh{at}

Loosely based on an old folk tale

A Little Red Hen lived in a university hospital where she took care of the sick animals in the different wards. She did this under the overseeing eye of her wise and learned mentors. There was the Cow, who had a degree from a prestigious overseas university. There was the Pig, who had led mergers of several high standing hospitals in the country. And there was the Sheep, who had an outstanding treatment record with almost no animal morbidity and mortality.

One day the Little Red Hen thought: “Why don’t I see if I can use my scarce free hours at the end of the day and make an excellent pie. Not only will this pie add to the gastronomic knowledge, it could be that the sick animals will benefit from this pie in the long run.”

So the Little Red Hen ran her idea past her mentors.

“Great idea,” said the Cow. “I will supply the milk and …

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