Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 13, 2008

Lord Darzi – take heed

Some daily papers report how a gallbladder was removed in error.

The female patient concerned apparently had been admitted for “an investigative gynaecological procedure.”

The error took place in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington in the Department of Surgery headed by Lord Darzi.

We know these awful things happen.


“Carelessness” is not specific enough.

The Oldest Sage Witch is of the opinion that there are three main reasons for errors of this nature.

1. Lack of time. Time to think. Time to be composed.
2. Over-reliance on protocols resulting in staff metamorphosing into tick box automatons.
3. Interruptions.

We witches do not like protocols at all.

We think they are dangerous.

It is difficult to write a good protocol – one which turns out to cover every eventuality will be very complex.

At the present time all patients requiring surgery are admitted to the NHS under a consultant.

Aren’t they?

It would be good if we had a consultant delivered service.

It would be good if a consultant operating along with junior staff did not have to rely on a little bracelet on a wrist to identify a patient.

It would be good if the consultant had the time to talk to each patient in the ward to discuss surgery, and to get to know the patient. eg what they look like.

It would be good if both consultant surgeon and operating surgeon spoke to each patient in theatre before they were anaesthetised.

That would be putting the patient first.

That would be what most patients would choose.

They would like to be known to the consultant in charge of their care.

It is not too much to ask.

Patient choice.


  1. The robotic approach to all this can have its own problems.

  2. Too true!

    Liked this bit in your link:

    “involvement of patients themselves in spotting and anticipating medical errors.”

    Don’t suppose any of these guys have ever been comatose.

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