Dr Bawa-Garba and Manslaughter
A World War 2 Trilogy - By FRED NATH (Novelist and Neurosurgeon)
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

Covid-19 [5]
Covid-19 [4] The NHS
Covid-19 [4]
Covid-19 [4]
Covid-19 [3]

Most Popular Posts

Fred's Doc Blog
The Trial by Franz Kafka -my personal view.
Dr Bawa-Garba and Manslaughter
How to self-publish your book (Episode 1) - a Quick, Easy Solution!
Trigeminal Neuralgia


Medical stuff


May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
July 2019
June 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
May 2018
April 2018
February 2018
December 2016
September 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
January 2016
November 2015
August 2015
March 2014
January 2014
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010

powered by

Fred's Blog

Dr Bawa-Garba and Manslaughter

Many will have heard of this terrible, tragic case. The doctor involved was tried for manslaughter and convicted despite serious Trust flaws which led to the tragedy.
My feeling here is rather different to the majority. I do agree that a junior doctor, left unsupervised with two juniors below her, each of whom had only a months’ experience of paediatrics, and had herself just returned from 13 months maternity leave was particularly vulnerable to a mistake being made. Where I depart from many people’s stated views is that I do not think the registrar is culpable.

After 32 years as a consultant, I know that my duty working with junior doctors is to ensure they manage every case with knowledge and insight. This is done by closely supervising the least experienced ones and checking that all the right things have been done with every case admitted under my care. Those patients admitted when I am on call are my responsibility. The buck stops with the consultant. It has always been so.
If the registrar makes a mistake then it seems clear to me that I am the one who should be held accountable, not the junior who is following my instructions. I am the consultant and the patient is my patient. If I leave a junior in charge, it remains my responsibility and I have a duty of care.

In this case, the clinical biochemistry details were given to the consultant in charge of the case, by Dr Bava-Garba before she went off shift. The matter is then his responsibility. Even had she not imparted the correct information, it remains the responsibility of the consultant to ensure the patient is safe and being treated properly.

If I have a failing registrar one must ask oneself who’s responsibility is that? Junior doctors are not a few months out of the pram, they are qualified, responsible medical practitioners, with medical and often post-graduate degrees. They are all capable of learning. Those that do not learn, remain the consultant’s responsibility and the failure is his and his alone with only rare exceptions.

Consultants are at the top of the clinical salary scale in the NHS for only one reason - because they take responsibility in the end. The registrar in this case was scapegoated and was not adequately backed up by her consultant who it seems, was elsewhere, teaching at the time. I find this below a reasonable standard, in my opinion. A consultant who knows the inexperience and limitations of the junior doctors under him, and who is absent in any case, is not doing right by the patients or staff. He should not have been allowed to be away from the hospital if he was not immediately available for the patients being admitted under his care. He must have planned the teaching, accepting that it was a commitment which once begun could not be easily left. Did he arrange for another consultant to cover in his absence? Apparently not. Accepting commitments away from work when you are on call has always been regarded as wrong. This is especially true if the consultant is engaging in private practice or other fee earning work. How is it different to arrange a teaching session elsewhere? He was on call and therefore responsible.
If the registrar in the hospital needs supervision, then that is the responsibility of the consultant. When I am on call with any new registrar, I always check with them what experience they have and what operations they have already done with and without supervision. When I am called by them I always take their experience and ability into account.

Dr Bawa-Garba, in my opinion is the victim of scapegoating to protect others who should stand up and accept the responsibilities which they assume on appointment as a British consultant.

I really hope the case is appealed once more, and others are prepared to speak out in support of this victimised and wrongly punished doctor. 

8 Comments to Dr Bawa-Garba and Manslaughter:

Comments RSS
Shuaibu Dambatta on 12 February 2018 10:47
I couldn’t agree more. And as someone has been your registrar, I can attest to the fact you do provide the optimum level of supervision your juniors need.
Reply to comment

john benton on 13 February 2018 19:10
i agree, but notwithstanding, i also don't believe she did that much wrong either.
Reply to comment

Sadequr Rahman on 14 February 2018 09:34
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and intelligent blog. It has certainly been my opinion throughout this whole sad affair that when one assumes power (and therefore credit for successes), then responsibility for failure goes hand in hand. I have no doubt that system failures, background medical history and just plain bad luck played a major role in these events. But when we hold a senior position with the title, financial reward and responsibility that that position entails, just washing your hands of the responsibility part is not acceptable. Unfortunately I feel that there have also been huge failings on the part of GMC (obviously), the CPS and the original legal defence team. I hope that there will be justice for Hadiza too. The future of our profession may depend on it. Regards Dr Sadequr Rahman GP, South Wales
Reply to comment

stephanie hart on 14 February 2018 09:52
Reply to comment

fgfdgfg on 26 April 2018 22:18
An amazing blog! What writing skills you have, must say I am real impressed by your work and appreciate it.
Reply to comment

321 on 07 May 2018 10:02
good information and great service.
Reply to comment

nirma on 10 May 2018 16:43
awesome click
Reply to comment

Lawrence Todd Maxwell on 10 October 2018 05:16
I admire people who keep sharing valuable stories through great writing. I'm glad to have read this blog. Thanks and hope to read more soon.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment