Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


A cautionary tale for potentially dishonest doctors

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: (Published 23 May 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1298

Rapid Response:

Another cautionary tale for potentially dishonest doctors

Dear Editor

After taking particular care to explain the nature of a cardiovascular risk to a patient during my clinic this morning, I decided to arrange a repeat lipid blood test. On the phlebotomy request form I wrote ‘for annual monitoring’ despite it only being 51 weeks since the previous set of results. After espousing the benefits of a healthy diet, my own lunch consisted of a chocolate bar eaten hurriedly at my desk. I must remember to confess to my appraiser that the chocolate wasn’t ethically sourced when reviewing my PDP on sustainable healthcare.

At the end of another busy day, I arrived home to see my 5 year old daughter just before she was about to go to bed. She showed me a picture she’d drawn at school and I told her it was the most beautiful drawing I’d ever seen. She seemed happy but the bedtime routine was interrupted by a telephone call. Answering the unknown number, someone asked me whether I’d ever been involved in any accidents. I replied that I hadn’t, even though I remembered falling off my skateboard aged 7.

Then, feeling too exhausted to go to the gym, I ended up breaking a promise to my mother to exercise three times a week. As the evening progressed and I sat down for dinner, I told my partner that the meal they’d made was once again absolutely lovely. This sparked a memory from a few months ago when I was at a restaurant. The waiter asked me if everything was ok with the food. I politely nodded and replied it was great, despite it being a bit spicy for my liking. After a period of reflection, I still decided to leave a tip.

Lying in bed and unable to sleep with the potential consequences of my actions earlier in the day, I made the cardinal error of checking my work email. I was thankful there were no notifications of any pending performance investigations and that I’d survived yet another day of honesty and integrity without bringing the profession into disrepute.

Competing interests: Blogger at

25 May 2022
Sati Heer-Stavert