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TVMucho Show of the week August 13 – 20

Doctors on Trial - Panorama

Mon, August 13th, 2018

Monday 8.30pm – 9pm, BBC1.

Over 55000 non-urgent operations were cancelled in 2017 due to a lack of NHS staff being available. The pressures on the service regularly appear in the media with little let up on applying the blame game firmly at the governments feet. A shocking study in 2012 by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine determined approximately 1000 patients died needlessly due to basic medical errors by doctors.

Being a doctor is no easy feat. It can take anything from 10 to 14 years to train to be fully qualified, cost thousands of pounds and the work even during training can be long, tiring and mentally draining.

In 2015, the medical world was rocked by the conviction of Dr Hadiza Bawa Garba for manslaughter by gross negligence and subsequent removal from the medical register. Dr Bawa Garba was a specialist registrar in the 6th year of her postgraduate training at the Children’s Assessment Unit, Leicester Royal Infirmary when 6 year old Jack Adcock was admitted following a referral by his GP. The Dr had recently returned from maternity leave and was solely in charge of both the Children’s Assessment Unit and Emergency department that day as no senior consultant staff were available. Jack had down syndrome with a known heart condition and had been suffering from vomiting, diarrhea and breathing difficulties.

Less than 12 hours later Jack died of sepsis. Dr Bawa Garba made a series of mistakes, she failed to inform Jack’s mother to stop giving him his medicine, confused him with another patient and failed to ask for a consultant’s opinion, this was all compounded by an IT failure which delayed test results.

Deborah Cohen MBE, a veteran BBC journalist of 35 years covering Health and Science investigates the case, exploring the reasons for the conviction. The medical profession is aghast and believes she has been unfairly blamed for mistakes when it she has been working in an under-funded and overstretched NHS. Deborah speaks with both Dr Bawa Garba and the parents of Jack Adcock to hear their side of the story.

The programme ultimately seeks to determine what should happen when doctors make mistakes and who should ultimately accept responsibility. The protracted legal case against Dr Bawa Garba makes compelling evidence against her and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service had no hesitation in striking her off the register, but should she really have been left in a position where she was undertaking the role of 3-4 doctors?


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