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How doctors are exposed and vulnerable due to the current 'blame culture'

The patient lay slumped next to a pile of pills and a personally signed note reading: 'do not resuscitate me'. His breathing was agonal, his skin mottled, his pupils fixed, no pulse discernible. The attending doctor, in agreement with both paramedics and family member, decided to respect his wishes. Yet, this GP was placed under investigation for gross negligence manslaughter by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for not resuscitating the patient, setting in motion a sequence of investigations, including by the coroner and the General Medical Council (GMC), that were triggered by the statement of one policeman at the scene. 

All investigations and allegations were eventually dismissed but not until the GP had been through years of significant physical and mental stress. Still today, questions remain unanswered – in particular, concerning the actions of the police and the CPS.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the GP spoke to Medscape News UK, and said that now, over 7 years after that fateful home visit, she remained resolute that she made the correct clinical decisions at the time.

"It has all been very stressful for me. What was behind this case? What was driving this potential prosecution? And throughout, the patient, the family and their concerns were completely forgotten in the pursuit of so-called justice," she pointed out.

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Source: Medscape News, 9 March 2023


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