Letter: Patients' rights

Sir: Jeremy Laurance's report (16 November) on Rodney Ledward's surgical record must have sent a chill down the spine of any woman who has ever consulted a gynaecologist. Elsewhere in the report was another chilling aspect: Brenda Johnson, after suffering an unnecessary and incompetent hysterectomy by Mr Ledward, begged her GP to refer her to another specialist. He refused, saying it was "unethical".

Most of us have to trust our doctor's judgement. In the great majority of cases, this trust is not abused. Faced with a repair job on the house, most of us would not dream of proceeding without getting at least two assessments. Yet for a repair job on our bodies we are expected to accept a single opinion and are sometimes intimidated by the medical profession if we do otherwise.

Among all the serious issues raised by the Ledward case, I hope the medical profession's attitude to patients seeking a second opinion will come under review.


Reading, Berkshire