30 November 2008

One rule for the guilty another for the innocent

Dr ***** **-***** has been named as the locum paediatrician who examined Baby P two days before he died.

The doctor said:

"My professional career has been devoted to the care of children."

The boy's mother and boyfriend have been convicted of causing the baby's death. The law prevents them from being named.

Dr Grumble says:
Nothing.

The doctor's registration has been suspended. The doctor was a locum so, presumably, is now without a job and and has lost her livelihood

Dr Grumble says:
Nothing.

Somebody has to be blamed. It could be the doctor. It could be a social worker. It could be both. It won't be the government.

Did you know there are targets to reduce the number of children being taken into care?

Dr Grumble says:
Nothing.

Nothing at all.

8 comments:

the a&e charge nurse said...

Ahh, but even a 'nothing' could actually be interpreted as a something ?

But what.......?
If Dr Grumble won't tell us then others may be tempted to fill in the blanks (since it is impossible not to have an opinion on how this child died).

Dr Grumble said...

It is difficult to say anything when you don't know all the facts and you want to be accurate but there are some things which are making Dr G begin to worry about whether we are going to see fair play when it comes to the professionals involved. There is no harm in encouraging people to think about this and trying to temper the inevitable rush to find a scapegoat. Paediatricians and social workers are very vulnerable and if you were not there at the time it is difficult to know for sure that any decision that turned out to be a wrong one was reasonable or not.

If anybody wants more facts you could start with the executive summary of the serious case review conducted by Haringey Council (pdf) and try and formulate an informed opinion.

It does seem that quite a lot of investigation has already been conducted. Now if things with one individual were so bad that she needed to be prevented from practising you would think that, given the intense investigation, that might have become apparent before now and she would already be out of a job. So either the regulatory authority was remiss in failing to realise they had an obvious problem with this individual or they are responding to something that investigation up until now did not reveal. Now what is that? Why has it only now become apparent? That is what concerns Grumble.

Others have gone into this in much more depth . See the Ministry of Truth for much more detail.

Rebecca said...

I'm not a legal expert but I suspect that the reason the parents have not been named is not to protect them, but to protect the mother's 8 month old baby (currently in care).

Dr Grumble said...

Dr Grumble thought the same, Rebecca. Are the press required to be so vague? They usually say 'for legal reasons' which tells you very little. Similarly you read sentencing has been delayed 'for legal reasons'. That could be anything. It could be the judge has gone on holiday. Dr G always feels that the reason should be explained. But it never is. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Fore clarity's sake - do you think that a reasonable doctor should have ,at that time, spotted that the child was probably injured. And taken some action.

Dr Grumble said...

All Dr G will say is that he has come across doctors treated very badly who were undoubtedly innocent. In the UK people should be regarded as innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Doctors do not have this protection because there is a need to protect the public and these things are decided on the balance of probability There is also a need to protect the public from murderers but they are only found guilty if the matter is beyond reasonable doubt.

Dr Aust said...

Who'd be a community paediatrician, eh?

I only know one, who is the spouse of a colleague of mine. S/he is perpetually on the verge of binning it and going into law and/or public health and/or academia, mainly because community paeds and the entailed child protection work is so depressing, stressful and emotionally draining. The risk of being sued / demonised / splashed all over the papers being part of the reason.

Happy1 said...

targets targets targets targets.........................................................................