I agree with much of Rachel Rothwell’s piece regarding medical negligence (12 February), particularly in respect of the need to prevent recurring medical errors and ensure that injured patients receive the compensation required for their ongoing care. It is disappointing though, to see medical errors described by the cartoonish term ‘blunders’ and injured patients as ‘victims of blunders’, as no other profession has its mistakes characterised in that way. 

Most practitioners of my vintage will have made errors which harmed patients and will often continue a relationship with those patients in our clinics over the following years as a reminder of our fallibility and of the human cost of our errors.

The article speaks of a need to move towards openness about mistakes in order to develop a true learning culture while the whole tone of the article (‘victims’, ‘target’, ‘attack’ and ‘blunder’) illustrates why that move is happening more slowly than it should do. Perhaps the Gazette’s front-page piece the following week regarding the scale of law firms’ dependence on the personal injury market hints at why the profession is portrayed in this way.

David Knowles

Surgeon, Burton in Lonsdale