For healthcare professionals only


Peter Lapsley

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 26 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5747
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

The BMJ’s patient editor Peter Lapsley, in an article highlighting the lessons emerging from the first 100 or so articles, described the Patient Journeys series when they were first introduced in 2006 as being better “suited to the colour supplements of the Sunday papers than to the BMJ.”1

Over time the articles became more focused on what doctors could learn from a patient’s journey, with the introduction of a short piece written by the patient’s treating doctor, detailing what was learnt from the particular case.

Some remarkable tales have been told in the series: from the patient who was diagnosed with Klinefelter’s syndrome at the age of 14 but whose diagnosis was lost for 46 years, to the woman who was conscious but paralysed during a general anaesthetic and who later befriended the anaesthetist whom she initially felt had violated her.

Lapsley, who became patient editor in 2004, draws out the main lessons from the series: patients’ antipathy towards uncertain diagnoses; delays in diagnosis or treatment or both; underused interventions and doctors’ lack of understanding of the social, physiological, and psychological aspects of disease.

His work as patient …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription