Atrocious Daily Mail reporting incites a junior Doctor to respond

After reading this in the Mail … junior doctor @JennyMHughes sent a response to the journalist (Emma Innes). You wont find it in the comment sections of the Daily Mail so I have reproduced it here:

Dear Ms Innes,

I see that you have recently written an article for The Daily Mail with the title, ‘Accountant fights for life after trainee doctor tried to unblock his gullet like a drain and tore a 4cm hole in it’. I also note that you seem to have written a few articles that have been placed under the ‘Health’ section in the same paper. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I would imagine that a journalist writing about ‘Health’ should either have some knowledge of the subject or at least use their investigative skills to research a story thoroughly and educate themselves on the topic.

Imagine my shock when I found that you had actually discovered a new way to transmit disease – through the gullet (or was it windpipe…..we’ll never know), into the lungs where a virus overtook the chest to cause pneumonia and then miraculously went to the heart. Please can you explain to me how this happened?

Also, this metal pipe that was rammed down said accountants throat with such force by a trainee doctor – was this a drainpipe? A bagpipe? Or was it actually a rigid endoscope? I find it utterly unbelievable that this article was published.

On a serious note, you as a journalist have a responsibility to report FACTS! You are making mine and every other doctor/nurse/health professional’s life miserable and much harder. I constantly have to deal with patients who read articles such as yours and are misinformed about their own healthcare and what we do as a profession. We welcome constructive criticism and sometimes, things go wrong because we are all human – however they go wrong a lot more when we have the added pressures of having to convince people that we are good, honest, kind people who don’t just bugger off at 5pm everyday to ‘network’ and ‘play golf’ (two comments left by numerous people who read your article).

The comment section at the bottom is a perfect example of what you and your fellow Daily Mail journalist friends are doing to the mindset of our Great British public. It is not their fault that they don’t have medical degrees to see through the utter tosh that you publish, far from it. I have been so apoplectic since reading this article that I thought I’d try to publish a comment at the bottom. It never appeared. I then emailed the message board forum. No reply. That is why I’m writing to you.

I would greatly appreciate a reply, as I am intrigued to know what qualifications you have to make any sort of comment on such a story. I honestly just cannot fathom why somebody who obviously has had some kind of education, would put their name to this nonsense. You are the reason why we battle everyday to convince our patients to undergo life saving treatment. I will leave you with this story.

A few weeks ago, I was on-call in a busy acute medical unit, on a Sunday, after not having had a day off in 11 days (not swinging a 9 iron). A 43 year old man had been admitted with Paroxysmal AF after collapsing at home (for those of us with no medical background that means a funny heart beat that comes and goes). Now this has lots of implications but the main one is the risk of stroke. He was medically fit to be discharged later that day but would need to go home and probably start taking anticoagulation (blood thinners) and would need a statin as his cholesterol was sky high. You know what he told me, with his wife and two children sitting next to him? ‘Im not taking nothing Doc, I’ve read about all that in the Daily Mail and I don’t trust you lot or the medications you give us, you’re making us worse’. Now we have to counsel people about the risks of this but he was still adamant, so off he went with NOTHING absolutely bugger all. Now he may never have a stroke in his life, he’ll be lucky, but if he does, there is every chance it could have been prevented, and he will be a vegetable for his wife and two young children. I wanted to be angry at him, in fact initially I was, but it’s YOUR fault for peddling lies and propaganda about the NHS and it’s dedicated hardworking staff.


Dr Jennifer Hughes


UPDATE 20/3/2014: Daily Mail at it again – this time for race and gender ‘insinuation’ in diary item:


Addendum: I saw this statement somewhere (sorry have lost track of where so am unable to give credit) but it sums up my feelings entirely:

“The Daily Mail is a pernicious force of hatred and misery. It despises any act of kindness, love or humanity. It represents, panders and encourages the very worst in people.  If the Daily Mail ceased to exist tomorrow the UK would be a happier, better and more humane place to live. They are vile beyond contempt.”
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