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Partha Kar: Jealousy, rivalry, and disdain—the toxicity of specialty stereotyping

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2080 (Published 31 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2080

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Re: Partha Kar: Jealousy, rivalry, and disdain—the toxicity of specialty stereotyping

Dear Editor

While I know nothing about the toxicity of social media, banter between specialists and GPs can be not just amusing but completely harmless. I can't imagine doing without it.

When I told my old boss, a Professor of Medicine, that I was going to train as a neurologist he huffed and said "Well, I suppose someone has to be a neurologist" and then remarked that a famous London neurologist regarded himself as "second only to the Archangel Gabriel". It didn't put me off but I have always remembered his quip, and indeed the message behind it that specialists do have to beware of being too specialised and too very certain.

Even the last editor of the BMJ lampooned the neurologist as “a brilliant, forgetful man with a bulging cranium, a loud bow tie, who reads Cicero in Latin for pleasure, hums Haydn sonatas, talks with ease about bits of the brain you’d forgotten existed, adores diagnosis and rare syndromes, and — most importantly — never bothers about treatment”. Water of this particular duck's back.

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 October 2021
Charles Warlow
Emeritus Professor of Medical Neurology
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh