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A compassionate complaint about hospital care made a difference

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 05 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7823
  1. Craig Brown, general practitioner, East Preston, Littlehampton BN16 1NQ, UK
  1. cbrown9811{at}

After Craig Brown’s wife died and the family had had concerns about her care, he found that a considered complaint was well received by the hospital and hopes it will lead to improvements in its service

I decided to complain about the care that my wife had received in hospital before she died. My children had mixed feelings about it, because it would remind them of the bad experience we’d had and because they thought that it could not change attitudes or mend a broken system. I suspected it would be an arduous process. I wanted to be compassionate towards the people to whom we were complaining and to avoid projecting our grief on to them.

My wife had died from a secondary brain tumour. She was diagnosed as having a melanoma 20 years earlier and developed several secondary tumours in the first decade that responded to local surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. She had two separate single secondary brain tumours resected 11 and six years before. Three weeks before her death she was her usual optimistic, energetic self, playing golf and …

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