Case of the week

From the tabloids through to the broadsheets, to Panorama, Newsnight and Thought for the Day, it was the same story. The key feature about Harold Shipman was the letters in front of his name. A convicted killer, but worse, a doctor. Journalists reporting the case, the verdict and the possible charges to follow, had to rush off to the textbooks to find the exact words of the Hippocratic oath. Unlike Peter Sutcliffe, an everyday man who murdered mainly prostitutes, here was a professional medical man who murdered little old ladies, and the media made the most of the difference. The BMA, the General Media Council, the Department of Health, the Local Health Authority, indeed the whole establishment, were examined and subjected to the call for ‘something to be done’.