A paper was submitted in which a young surgeon described five patients who died over six months under the care of one surgeon. The author suggested that the surgeon was dangerous and that something should have been done. Nothing was done and the surgeon has since retired. The paper, a very personal one, provides an interesting insight into the difficulties that doctors have dealing with problem colleagues. Should the editors: _ attempt to get consent from the patients’ relatives? _ worry about the fact that somebody, somewhere, is likely to be able to identify the surgeon, particularly if the article is signed rather than published anonymously?
_ This case had already been published in a journal the preceding year. _ The system has changed in the past 10 years since these issues first arose, but the committee felt that the information could be published as a source of interest on what used to happen. _ It was suggested that the article be re-published, accompanied by five people’s responses as to what would happen now.
No further action taken.