Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Mid Staffs shames us all

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 12 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f927

Re: Mid Staffs shames us all

Like Des I remember the day I took the Hippocratic Oath. It was on my first day at Medical School in 1979 and was read out (in English) by the Dean of Surgery. A 100 students stood up and collectively swore to uphold its values. This brief ceremony meant that I had finally made it into the exclusive world of medicine and doctoring and I was ridiculously proud to be there. In 1996 I became a Consultant and my first SHO was an excellent young doctor called Ioannis Ioannides ("John" to us - these were pre-PC days). Towards the end of his 6-month post John went home to Greece on annual leave and he returned with a small tourist's statuette of Hippocrates and a plinth with the oath written in Ancient Greek. He presented them to me as a "thank you" for my teaching. I nearly made a joke about 'Greeks bearing gifts' but fortunately held my tongue. These same Greek gifts remain in my hospital's Orthopaedic department's seminar room where we hold our morning Trauma handover meeting. They remind me each day of why I went into Medicine and Surgery.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 February 2013
Kevin JH Newman
Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon
ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Guildford Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT160PZ