Promoting medico-legal knowledge in all its aspects


During the Covid restrictions, we were very successful in holding our monthly meetings over Zoom and were joined by many existing and new members from outside London and, indeed, from abroad.

Following the lifting of the restrictions, it has been delightful to resume our meetings at the Medical Society of London’s historic building, Lettsom House, to meet and socialise afterwards and enjoy the wine and canapes provided.

However, our attempts to relay physical meetings over Zoom have met with limited success. In particular, members joining via Zoom found it hard to hear the speaker and almost impossible to hear questions from the live audience.

The Society is seeking professional help in overcoming these problems. As an interim measure, our honorary secretary Evelyn Palmer, Journal Editor Diana Brahams and her husband former Council member (and self-confessed equipment nerd) Malcolm Brahams met the Medical Society of London’s registrar Commander Mike Flynn at the end of March and worked out a better method of relaying both the lecture and the subsequent discussion. Members who attended the May meeting via Zoom reported a much more satisfactory experience.

An unexpected consequence of the Pandemic and the need to hold meetings via Zoom has been to extend the Society’s membership and those atttending virtual meetings well beyond UK shores.

The latest Medico-Legal Journal (Vol 89 part 4) which will hopefully have dropped on members’ doormats before the New Year, reflects the continuing international nature of both the journal and the Society itself.

The Editors look at the inducement to settle sometimes unmeritorious clinical negligence claims.

A talk to the Society from Jeremy Chipperfield, HM Coroner for Durham and Darlington is reproduced in the Journal and discusses his role as an investigator of deaths. A further address by Tom Kark QC addresses the importance of an independent investigations when things – ranging from a politician’s redecorations to the failings of a hospital trust – go wrong.

From Maryland, USA, Dr Howard Smith advocates a model “for deductive reasoning in malpractice suits” based on ten standard duties to establish if there has been medical error or “an unpreventable random maloccurrence.”

From the ENT department at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, Haseem Raja and Rishi Talwar examine the effect of the Montgomery case on consent to septology operations.

Navpreet Kaur from Punjab and Roger Byard from Adelaide discuss the indignities suffered by Indian women in relation to their menstrual cycles.

Contributors from Rome and from Bethesda USA consider the effects of a terrorist grenade attack and what may be learned from the carboxyhaemoglobin levels in the corpse.

Authors from Mangalore, India, describe problems where an uncooperative patient has received alternative therapies and asks whether some alternative therapists should be present in mainstream hospitals.

Contributors from Malaysia and Pakistan discuss issues of estimating age from the development of third molars and whether their Malaysian findings can be applied elsewhere.

From Nigeria there is a discussion of the development of Telemedicine in that country and the need for a statutory and legal framework.

And finally, authors from Nepal, and Saudi Arabia describe an attempt to remove the penis of an alleged rapist – sensitive male readers may prefer to look away now!