Nurturing the profession
Vol. 15 No 3 | Spring 2013
Letters
The drunk consultant
Dr David Blackledge
MA, FRCOG, FRANZCOG


This article is 9 years old and may no longer reflect current clinical practice.

This excellent and timely article, O&G Magazine Vol 15 No 2 Winter 2013, overlooks one important problem: the power imbalance.

In the 1950s, I was a registrar in the UK and for my last 12 months I worked for a consultant who was nearly always affected by alcohol after 6pm. I had become used to taking 99 per cent of the responsibility for after-hours emergencies. One day, at about 2am, I admitted a patient with a rare and life-threatening emergency
in mid-pregnancy. After much argument on the telephone, the consultant came to see her. He was obviously the worse for wear and there was a confrontation.

I had already been successful in obtaining a teaching hospital senior registrar appointment. A few days later, the consultant told me that he would write to Prof X and that would kill my career stone dead! He also refused to sign my book for the MRCOG.

Fortunately, Prof X was a reasonable man and I did not suffer the threatened fate. However, I still feel that sickness in the gut when I remember this incident. In those days, there was no clear procedure in UK hospitals.

It is now well-known that whistle-blowers tend to suffer a negative effect on their careers. I do not know the answer to this problem, but consider that the authorities should bear in mind the power imbalance.


2 Comments

Pauline Warren (Cindy cook)

Was wondering if Dr blackledge was still alive? Believe he was my mothers gynecologist …..and essentially saved my life….my dob…2/11/68
At blacktown hospital…. Have interesting health issues .would be interesting to talk to him…. (1 kidney bicornuate uterus)

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Barbara Brown

Dr Blackledge was my gynaecologist in Dubbo in 1976 when I gave birth to my son. He also performed surgery on me later that year. Glad I decided to google him. I remember him as a wonderful doctor.

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