Nurturing the profession
Vol. 15 No 3 | Spring 2013
The drunk consultant
Dr David Blackledge

This article is 11 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.


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)

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.

Brenda Murphy

I will always be grateful to Dr Blackledge. He delivered two healthy children for me after the very sad loss of my first baby boy.


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