Doctors around the world have been concerned by Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba’s case in the UK – it’s one of the most talked about things in Medicine right now.
In case you’ve missed the news, in 2015 Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted of Gross-Negligence Manslaughter as a result of the death of 6-year-old Jack Adcock who was in her care. The jury who convicted her did not seem to take into account mitigating factors, however the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) did. They decided that after her two-year suspended sentence had expired she could resume work.
The General Medical Council (GMC) challenged this decision, arguing that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the Medical Register to protect public confidence in the medical profession. This argument was ultimately accepted on the 28 January 2018 in the High Court of Justice and Dr Bawa-Garba was struck off.
*UPDATE* 12/06/2018 at 10:30. New measures designed to improve patient safety and protect doctors and nurses when mistakes are made, are to be announced by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
People across the UK and internationally have taken to Twitter to express their views. Here’s a snapshot of their mixed reactions.
Here, one mother expresses her worry and concern following the outcomes of this case:
As a mother, reading the Dr #BawaGarba case scares me to no end. Not only is it possible for my child to be treated in such unsafe conditions but if anything happens, a witch-hunt will ensure institutional failings are never addressed.
— Mona (@SheekadaMona) January 28, 2018
Various health professionals also have very strong opinions about how Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba has been treated.
One professional wrote ‘this could have been any of us in a failing system’:
I emailed the clinical director once as a medical SHO stating the shift was unsafe: he forwarded it to every consultant in the hospital and I felt shamed for 'making a fuss'. I left hospital medicine. This could have been any of us in a failing system. #iamhadiza
— Rosie Wellesley (@RosieWellesley) January 25, 2018
Others echo these sentiments:
I think that the #BawaGarba case could've, in all honesty, happened to any of us. Especially those who are working in high risk, high patient encounter specialties.
We all lie awake on our on call nights, worrying about a missed blood result, or a missed X-ray finding.
— Philip Lee (@drphiliplee1) January 26, 2018
It's taking every iota of my emotional resilience to get through such understaffed night shifts on Paeds. Even more terrifying in the light of the recent Dr Bawa Gaba case. #iamhadiza
— Abigail Turley (@AbiTheFryer) January 27, 2018
Pinning the blame on an individual when it is the system at fault will lead to a culture of fear & the loss of crucial opportunities to learn from mistakes. @Jeremy_Hunt will you address this? A disaster for the medical profession & for #patientsafety #iamhadiza #BawaGarba
— Dr Sammy (@sbattrawden) January 25, 2018
Faced with widespread criticism, the GMC have shared tweets seeking to clarify their point of view too:
— GMC (@gmcuk) January 25, 2018
There is some anxiety and fear among doctors following the high court judgement this week. I’ve posted a blog with advice on what to do in times of pressure on the #NHS. Read it in full here: https://t.co/4wBEKk3JnT pic.twitter.com/bCtMj0D2st
— Colin R Melville (@drcolinm) January 26, 2018
Just finished a 10 hour A&E shift and realised the Crowdfunding has exceeded its £200k target by £41k.
The more money donated the more that can be achieved. The truth of this situation must come out. Doctors and patients deserve a just and transparent NHS. #IamHadiza pic.twitter.com/DYSAUBv5Cl
— Dr Chris Day (@drcmday) January 30, 2018
*Update 14/02/2018* Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has ordered an urgent review of medical malpractice cases following concerns over the Bawa-Garba case:
The #bawagarba case will be seen as another watershed moment, & the review I’ve announced today will seek to learn deep lessons on how we respond to similar situations in the future. https://t.co/65MiQ5RaaV 2/3
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) February 6, 2018
There have been mixed reactions to this announcement:
She's already had two leaves for appeal refused. How many judges have to say "she did it" before you accept that maybe she was negligent?
— Dan Beale Cocks (@DanBeale1) February 6, 2018
I am so encouraged to see the stance you are taking on this Mr. Hunt. Doctors trying to honestly do the best they can should not face criminal action if they fail. It isn't right, and it isn't safe. We cannot have a genuine no-blame culture in the toxic environment that creates.
— Matt Watts (@Matt1002) February 6, 2018
*Update 04/04/2018* A doctor who was dismissed over the death of a six-year-old boy has won the right to challenge the decision.
Hadiza Bawa-Garba: Doctor wins right to appeal after boy's death https://t.co/p1VM9Q0Qlg
— Mandie (@mandiejosh) April 1, 2018
The High Court previously ruled Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba be struck off because of mistakes in the care of Jack Adcock.
1/ Dr Hadiza #BawaGarba has been granted permission to appeal her erasure from the medical register.The Court of Appeal decision granting permission states that her grounds of challenge "meet second appeal test in all respects" i.e. real prospect of success & an important point
— Andrea James (@HealthRegLawyer) April 3, 2018
There have been mixed reactions to the announcement of the appeal. Here one retired Urologist expresses his views:
Utterly fabulous news today 🤗 Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba hs been grantd second appeal to contest GMC decision to erase her frm the register. Let the real battle commence! She hs Truth & Righteousness on her side. Amen 🙏
— Rajiv Kumar (@rkumarswindon) March 28, 2018
However, enthusiasm for the appeal is not shared amongst all Twitter users:
Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, ADMITTED mistakes she made treating a child, who died. TO APPEAL😐 ban…
— John D (@MexicoRS78) March 31, 2018
*Update 12/06/2018* New measures designed to improve patient safety and protect doctors and nurses when mistakes are made, are to be announced by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
It comes after concerns were raised following the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was struck off after the death of a six-year-old boy.
Responding to today's announcement for new measures to protect doctors when mistakes are made, @CNagpaul is clear that the NHS needs a 'dramatic shift' away from the current culture of blame; addressing these errors needs to consider the system as a whole https://t.co/WIepxDB93i
— The BMA (@TheBMA) June 11, 2018
Mr Hunt said staff should be able to learn from their mistakes. One Twitter user expresses his views on the topic:
Drs have a duty of Candour – they are duty bound to be open and honest when things go wrong. If a Dr is negligent then they face the full extent of the law. BBC News – New measures to protect doctors after Bawa-Garba case https://t.co/MvD1xVxfKI
— Neil Feltham (@felthamn) June 11, 2018
One professional welcome’s this move:
— Gary Ross (@ukaesthetic) June 11, 2018
The Royal College of Pathologists shares their opinions on this update:
The College welcomes the Government’s announcement that a national system of independent medical examiners will be introduced from April 2019.https://t.co/0dPY0XoLwB#pathology #NHS pic.twitter.com/Fttd3AJ1FM
— RC of Pathologists (@RCPath) June 11, 2018
Jeremy Hunt has taken to Twitter to express his opinion:
When something goes tragically wrong in the NHS, the only real apology to grieving families is a credible promise that no one will suffer the same heartache again. (1/2)
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 11, 2018
Today’s measures will improve how we investigate & learn from deaths across the NHS, while giving doctors the reassurance & confidence to speak openly about mistakes. Both are vital 4 the new learning culture we need in the NHS. (2/2) https://t.co/FIn01TrBXa
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 11, 2018
One professional reacts to the Health Secretary’s tweet:
Like most people, I have my views on @Jeremy_Hunt, and there is a lot of detail behind this to consider, but the renewed focus on patient safety and learning from errors is welcome.
— Ewan Maule (@EwanMaule) June 11, 2018
One Twitter user shares his thoughts, stating that Doctors should be accountable for their actions:
Bad decision here! Every profession has #accountability and Doctors are no different! To be exceptionally bad requires whole supervisory chain to be prosecuted! BBC News – New measures to protect doctors after Bawa-Garba case https://t.co/3N9olnO7Fp
— John McDonald (@trimble2k) June 11, 2018
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine President reacts to Jeremy Hunt’s decision:
Case of Hadiza Bawa-Garba was a watershed in medicine. Nothing can take away pain for all those involved but news today of swift action by @Jeremy_Hunt will hopefully start the process of rebuilding confidence so clinicians truly focus on safety blame free https://t.co/Au9J1gAXlL
— Taj Hassan (@RCEMpresident) June 11, 2018
One Twitter user expresses his disappointment with the update:
New measures to protect doctors after Bawa-Garba case @BBCNews another get out of jail card for the those privileged to be judged by those they chose not their peers. This was a multiplicity of errors and ignoring clear warnings and dangerous https://t.co/treHXPY9rv
— Frazer (@frazernh) June 11, 2018
So what do you think? Share your comments below 👇👇👇👇
There’s going to be more developments in this ongoing story so to find the latest search on your favourite news outlets or check #IamHadiza #BawaGarba on Twitter
If you liked this blog post then check back on our site next week – we post blogs regularly.
Next blog: Taking care of your mental health