Past Posts...


Human Frailty

It has come to Dr No that, despite appearances, ethicists are in fact moles in disguise. He is forced to this unavoidable conclusion by their habits: they live in the dark, cannot see things too well, and have a nasty habit of throwing up another molehill just when you thought you had finally seen the last of them.

The latest molehill has been thrown up on Dr Grumble’s blog by a mole calling himself Enzyme. Seemingly unaware of the mountain of debate that has surrounded the death of Kerrie Wooltorton, Enzyme has been busy tunnelling through Dr G’s blog, ejecting familiar clods of support for bad law and dodgy practice.

Tami-Scam!

FED UP with flagging sales, BMJ editor Fearless Godlee has revamped the boring old British Medical Journal.

She has FIRED all those tedious academics who clog the Journal with silly science.

She has TEAMED UP with Channel 4 to conduct fearless probes in Big Pharma.

Assisted Suicide

The DPP, Keir Starmer QC, has recently aired his Interim Policy Guidance on prosecuting cases of assisted suicide. Although this interim guidance arose from concerns that those who travel abroad to a suicide clinic might place accompanying relatives at risk of prosecution under the Suicide Act, the guidance is general in scope, and is intended to apply in all circumstances where consideration of such a prosecution arises. The same guidance, therefore, applies in cases of alleged physician assisted suicide.

Delusions of Anonymity

There has of late been some sharp discourse over the health of the UK medical blogosphere. JD kicked off with Where are they?, featuring a man with a worried back peering anxiously downhill. Many lively comments followed. A few days later the irrepressible RP popped up with Club Culture – which provoked JD to accuse her of doing a “hatchet job” on him, which she denied (and DN is with RP on this one). Meanwhile over on the NHS Exposed blog, JL was re-activating the long running fear of official interference in blogging activity.

Resident Pathogens

“At that moment in time, a human error occurred…” intoned Count Rubin on yesterday’s Today programme. Uttered as it was with an air of omniscient mastery, it seemed some great catastrophe, like a jumbo jet crash, had occurred. The truth turned out to be rather more commonplace: a study had revealed that nearly one in ten prescriptions written by hospital doctors had been found to be wrong.

All Gas and Garters

There is, believe it or not, a group of doctors madder than the shrinks, and seedier than the pecker checkers; a bunch of clowns, jokers and no-hopers so weird that no one knows what they do or why they are there. Mostly, they don’t know either. Until, that is, one or more of them develops ideas above their station, and puts their arse over the parapet and launches an air biscuit. I refer, of course to that posse of disconnected and discontented doctors who call themselves public health physicians.

Reading the Tea Leaves

We doctors live in daily fear of being sued. But that is only one side of the story. On the other side is the lot of the sensible patient or relative who genuinely believes that “something went wrong that should not have gone wrong”, but who faces the daunting task and uphill struggle of mounting a claim for negligence. His or her daily fear will not be one of being called to court, but quite the opposite, of ever getting the claim off the ground in the first place.

Snuff Doctors

Ethicists – those academics who are wont to use the incomprehensible in pursuit of the unknowable – have lately been enjoying something of an outing from their armchairs in the matter of Kerrie Wooltorton. Many aspects have been much debated, but one mighty elephant remains in the room: to what extent is a doctor who stands by and watches a suicide complicit in that suicide?

A Sleight of Mind

The man-made nature of law, both common and statute, means that it can have many if not all of the attributes of man. It can be great and just, just as it can be weak and flawed. And it can be abused – and nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the tragic case of Kerrie Wooltorton...

Normal For Norfolk

In the Good Old Days, NFN (Normal For Norfolk) was medical shorthand used to describe a patient who appeared peculiar, or odd. It now appears that NFN may apply not only to patients, but to other goings on in the good county of Norfolk.