Medicine Interview Hot Topics: Dr. Bawa-Garba
The Bawa-Garba case is one that shook the medical world and arguably highlighted the ‘blame culture’ that exists in the NHS and health systems worldwide. The case is based around the circumstances of 6-year-old Jack Adcock’s death in February 2011. Jack Adcock, who had Downs Syndrome, was brought into the Royal Leicester Infirmary with nausea, diarrhoea and breathing problems. A large part of the tragedy of this case is caused by a technical system failure which occurred in the hospital computers on the day that Jack was taken to hospital. Dr Bawa-Garba, who was the paediatric registrar in charge of Jack’s care, ordered a chest x-ray and blood tests, but due to the technical fault, these did not come available to view until 6 hours after they were carried out. When they did become available, they indicated a chest infection, and so Dr Bawa-Garba immediately prescribed antibiotics, which were given to Jack an hour later. The blood results demonstrated a severe infection, although it is difficult to ascertain whether the severity of this was understood by Dr Bawa-Garba at the time. While handing over to a consultant, Dr Bawa-Garba mentioned Jack’s case, but no one made the decision to go and review him again in person. As well as this, Jack had pre-existing heart problems which required certain medications, and these were not to be used in conjunction with the antibiotics. Jack’s parents were not informed of this, so that evening they gave him his standard medication. An hour later, Jack became extremely ill, and a crash call was put out for resuscitation. Dr Bawa-Garba answered the call, but mistook Jack for another child who had a do not resuscitate order, and delayed CPR for about a minute, before realising the mistake and continuing. Jack died at 9:20pm.
Dr Bawa-Garba was suspended from working, and later struck off the GMC medical register, which meant that she was unable to work as a doctor. This caused major outcry, as the death of Jack Adcock was not solely Dr Bawa-Garba’s fault: although she did accept that she made mistakes which contributed to Jack’s death, she was working in less than ideal conditions, with many absent staff and a computer system with technical faults. This case lasted all the way until 2018, at which point Dr Bawa-Garba was allowed to work as a doctor again, but at a much less senior position and also under strict supervision from a variety of peers to prevent against further negligence.
Potential Questions which could be asked in the Interview about this case:
- How has the Bawa-Garba case illustrated the issues that exist in the NHS
- Tell me about a medical related story you have heard in the news
- Do you think that Dr Bawa-Garba should still be allowed to work as a doctor?
- Was the death of Jack Adcock Dr Bawa-Garba’s fault?
- Did Dr Bawa-Garba get sufficient punishment for her failings in the death of Jack Adcock?
How to Answer Questions about the Bawa-Garba Case
While talking about any case, the best approach is to talk about both sides of the argument. This ensures that you are proving to the interviewer that you can balance arguments and see the bigger picture, rather than just focussing on one opinion. In, addition to this, it is extremely important to bring in the four principles of medical ethics, which are very relevant to this case. You can talk about justice, beneficence and non-maleficence in this case, although autonomy is less applicable. As long as you present a balanced argument and include the principles of medical ethics, your final decision on any part of the Bawa-Garba case is correct, as you have formed a solid and coherent argument.
How can this be used in Medical School Interviews
In most interviews, there is a question about a current or past medical news which has caught your interest. The Bawa-Garba case is the perfect example to use, as it has many both ethical and practical factors that can be considered. It can also be referenced while answering questions about medical ethics to show off your knowledge of the issues surrounding the NHS and medicine in general.
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