23 December 2008

From litter tsar to patient safety

Logins from the paradise of Necker Island have led Dr Grumble to suspect that no less a person than Richard Branson reads Dr Grumble. It could though be just his minions but Dr Grumble likes to think it is Sir Richard himself.

Sir Richard has been proclaiming on MRSA. Now Sir Richard is not a great expert on MRSA so why should we listen to him? He was not a great expert on litter but that did not stop his being appointed litter tsar though Dr Grumble cannot remember him solving that problem either. But, since Sir Richard reads Dr Grumble, he may have more knowledge on MRSA than we give him credit for. And his great friend Peter Emerson is a doctor and, of course, so is his daughter, Holly. Dr Grumble has met Holly. But that was many years ago when she was something of a tomboy.

So where did Sir Richard get his latest idea on how to tackle MRSA? Could it have been from Dr Grumble?


Dr Aust said...

Do you think Sir Richard and young Holly might be thinking of going into business as contractors supplying MRSA screening services to the NHS? Think "VirginTestTM"

Just a thought.

Dr Grumble said...

Dr Grumble was waiting for somebody to suggest that there might just be some ulterior motive. If you campaign saying how poor the NHS is and that you know what to do then presumably your chance of becoming a private provider must go up. Before we take that route we must remember his performance with the litter. And don't forget where he learnt about MRSA. There's an opportunity for Grumble here!

It seems that young Dr Branson had a little adventure on her way to Necker for Christmas.

Dr Aust said...

Interesting story on young Dr Branson. I presume if she couldn't rule out an MI she did the right thing. I wonder how it would have panned out with a doctor whose father didn't own the airline...

It actually makes an interesting contrast with "Operation Coathanger", which you might remember. We used to use the TV reconstruction of "Operation Coathanger" in medical teaching for several years. The thing that tickled me was that the Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery (latterly briefly well-known for his involvement with Wayne Rooney's metatarsal) played himself in the TV reconstruction.

Dr Grumble said...

Operation Coathanger has always interested Dr Grumble. The hero of the tale actually made rather a lot of mistakes. But Dr Grumble takes his hat off to him because he was very frank and honest about what he did wrong and the difficulties he had right down to problems with the lignocaine, sorry, lidocaine dosage (which could be helped with better labelling). There are lots of lessons to be learned from operation coathanger including quite a lot about the effects of the increasing cabin altitude on the pneumothorax (which if I remember rightly the pilots explained to the professor).

Many incidents like the one the young Dr Branson encountered turn out to be psychogenic but no doctor can ever be certain that somebody is not having a heart attack. One can't help feeling that the doctors in Phoenix giving advice must have been influenced by fact that the doctor's name was Branson but we will never know.

There are more deaths from in-flight medical emergencies than from airline accidents which raises the question of the quality of healthcare on Branson's own planes. Perhaps he should deal with this before meddling in the hospital service.

With regard to MRSA, Andy Cowper (whom Dr G has met) has a balanced and accurate response to Sir Richard here.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the high tech stuff. As a frequent traveller on Virgin trains I would like Sir Richard to get his own house in order. Clean toilets with soap and water would be a good start. C'mon Sir Richard stop knocking the NHS and get Virgin trains to provide toilets that match his hygiene aspirations for hospitals