Patient Safety

Patient Safety

Patient Safety Hi everyone,

This is for anyone who has had a delay in breast cancer diagnosis.

This morning I listened to a very interesting programme on Radio 4 on patient safety. It’s repeated at 9.30 pm this evening. It can also be accessed through the BBCi website. Try

Synopsis of programme

Fergal Keane talks to different individuals who, through conviction or circumstances, have taken a stand against something significant. What motivated them to act and what was the fallout of the decision?

Susan Sheridan is perhaps an unlikely campaigner against the widespread use of litigation to prove ‘blame’ in cases of medical negligence. First, her newborn son Cal was left brain damaged and then her husband’s fatal cancer went undetected through hospital error. She was forced to take legal action twice.

Now a worldwide crusader for patient safety, Susan Sheridan believes that fear of being sued is a major obstacle to medical staff admitting their mistakes - and learning from them. She argues that a more frank and open dialogue between doctor and patient would make hospitals safer for us all.

The programme isn’t as depressing as I thought it was going to be.

Best wishes,


— I haven’t heard the programme, but I think it raises an important question.

Everyone makes some mistakes in their work so why should we expect doctors to never make any. Unfortunately when they make mistakes, it can kill people, but that doesn’t mean that taking legal action is the best answer.

Only the lawyers benefit from litigation. Hospitals and medical staff aren’t encouraged to learn from the episode and if the hospital has to pay out compensation, that just means less money for treating other patients.

There’s a difference between making a mistake in good faith and negligence and maybe more care needs to be taken to distinguish between them.