Coming back to the High Court ruling on Professor Walker Smith, it is the case that the Professor’s reputation has only been partly restored. If you look at the full legal ruling there are many criticisms that the professor should have been far more vigilant in his dealings with Wakefield. He should have scrutinised what he was getting into far more closely.
I think that is a little unfair. He made in my view one fundamental mistake that we all make, only usually the consequences are not as severe. He trusted a colleague. He assumed automatically that Wakefield, as a doctor, was a man of integrity and that scrutiny and vigilance were not warranted.
I think it is fair to say that, when dealing with our colleagues trust is our default position. We assume that doctors are deserving of trust until proven otherwise, rather than the other way round. And that is why it is so easy for our unscrupulous colleagues, and there are no small number of them, to run rings round us.
This blog has featured a small number of instances where doctors, particularly in positions of management and authority have behaved in a vile, vindictive and self serving way. But this is the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee that in your hospital there are a small number of individuals you would not turn your back on.
Honourable profession indeed.