General Advice – June 2020


Egos, Empires and Orthopaedic Surgeons

There are many facets to a medicolegal practice that give me great pleasure. I genuinely enjoy meeting the plaintiffs. I derive pleasure from the intellectual challenge that is often posed. Even attending Court (as prickly as it sometimes can be) has been exhilarating.

Reading the documents accompanying a letter of instruction can also be quite entertaining. It allows an opportunity to read the reports prepared by my colleagues and witness the methods they use in their analyses. The prose and jargon can also be quite astonishing. For example, some colleagues begin every paragraph by stating “In my opinion…” The phrase is probably unnecessary. By definition, they are simply offering their opinions.

Another colleague used to begin his paragraphs by stating “I put it to you…” I think he was probably play-acting a little. He thought that he was in the Court room and wearing the robes of the barrister.

Other colleagues appear to be very eager to name and shame their competitors with attempts to personally diminish the value of the opinions that have been proffered. Whilst contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, this can also be a very dangerous activity. It is sometimes the case whereby the critical reporter’s ego has dimmed his perceptive powers and what was thought to be an error by his colleague, was definitely not.

Egos, empires and orthopaedic surgeons are never too far apart. Witnessing the interactions can be a most entertaining pastime.