Letter: Forensic evidence
22 August 2012
In all the justified contumely being poured on Dr Freddy Patel’s head (and I was a witness in the previous General Medical Council hearings against him, testifying about his poor autopsy practice), let us not forget one important fact (Tomlinson pathologist found unfit to practise, 22 August).
All his autopsies were performed for HM coroners, with or without a police interest, and they were happy to employ him, since he provided convenient diagnoses, did not over-investigate cases, and was always available. Did they, as employers using state funds to pay him, take an interest in the quality of his product?
Apparently not. I, and other pathologists, informed many coroners and their officers of our opinion on his poor performance, but only after the Tomlinson affair did any take note and express regret that they had not reviewed his work more critically.
Professor Sebastian Lucas
Department of histopathology, St Thomas’s hospital, London
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