Bulletin 114, March 2019

From the Editor, Dr David Bogod

Welcome to the March Bulletin

‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...’ – Kate McCombe, our resident legal and ethical guru from Dubai, has revisited the Bawa–Garba case in a thought-provoking piece. Perhaps with the clarity afforded by geographical distance from the hubbub, and with the successful legal appeal and the report of the Williams’ Review to draw on, Kate provides one of the clearest summaries of the momentous events of the last two years. The consequences of Jack Adcock’s death will, rightly, be with us for many years to come and will have a powerful influence on the relationship between doctors, their employees and their patients, but at least we are now in a position to start evaluating them with less heat and more light.

Two of our trainee members have bravely come forward to describe how they have handled traumatic situations in their personal lives during their training, and I commend their stories to you. Neha Sandhu lost her mother three days before the end of her maternity leave, adding bereavement and tragedy to the stress of returning after a long absence. She tells of a shaky restart, followed by good support from the LTFT lead at her new trust and a phased return. The lessons she teaches us about communication and reflection are generic and well worth taking on board. Elsewhere, Inthekab Ali recalls the challenges he faced when he suffered vocal cord trauma after thyroid surgery between the written and oral parts of the final Fellowship exam. With help and inspiration from his trust, the College, and even ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, he sat his vivas in a quiet room and came though victorious. Both deserve our respect and admiration.

Elsewhere in this issue, Professor Jaideep Pandit focuses his huge brain on another aspect of theatre efficiency, lists that don’t start on time. Does a late start mean a late finish? Is a late start always the enemy of efficiency? Is there any point in greeting your surgical colleague, when he finally rolls up at 8.52 am, with an ironic ‘good afternoon’? Professor Pandit answers at least two of these questions within.

Readers of a certain age (and when I say ‘of a certain age’ I, of course, mean ‘old’) will remember a TV sit-com from the late 1960’s called ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’. It featured the hilarious mishaps of two tailors, Manny Cohen and Patrick Kelly, whose religions and over-riding characteristics might be reasonably guessed from their names, and whose adventures would therefore never have got within a million miles of being commissioned in these more enlightened times (along, incidentally, with the 1977 television play, ‘Oy Veh, Maria’). I was reminded of the title by the spirited article from Hugh Hemmings, respected Editor-in-Chief of BJA, responding to the comments in September’s issue about the increasing weight and width of the journal. ‘By your contents, not your size, shall you be judged’ appears to be Hugh’s message, and I entirely agree. So read on, and enjoy.