What is it with The British Medical Journal (BMJ) that makes them pander to the ‘woke’ brigade?

From an issue in early 2022 in an article on breast cancer screening, which obviously applies to women, they feel constrained to say:

Some trans men and women and non-binary people are also eligible for breast cancer screening, and although the data mostly relate to cisgender women, the arguments on informed consent apply to everyone.

How thoughtful of the BMJ to remind readers that women who have ‘transitioned’ to men, whatever that means, may also be eligible for breast cancer screening! Why don’t they avoid the controversial word ‘women’ entirely and just talk of ‘people with breasts’? And what is the difference, if any, between a so-called cisgender woman and an ordinary woman? Why do they have to defer to the sensibilities of those of the female sex who are deluded or fantasise that they are ‘really’ male, so-called trans males?

In another issue, in an article on right-sided abdominal pain in women – there, they said it – they add pointless and unnecessary qualifications:

This guidance applies to any patient with childbearing potential, i.e., those of reproductive age, with female reproductive organs

Talk about over-egging the pudding! It’s fair enough to mention ‘childbearing potential’ because post-menopausal women by definition will not be liable to suffer any complications of pregnancy, but they don’t need to say ‘those of reproductive age’ as well because this means the same thing. However, not being content with one redundancy, they have to add another: ‘with female reproductive organs’. If a female person has childbearing potential obviously she must have female reproductive organs.

Furthermore, in deference to political correctness, even the time-honoured word ‘patient’ in some of the hallowed pages of the BMJ is replaced by ‘person’. For example, in an article  on dependence-forming medicines (16 July 2022) there are repeated instances of ‘person’.

Ensure decisions to start a medicine associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms are based on a shared decision between the healthcare professional and person following an informed discussion

At least there is the occasional mention of ‘patient’, if rather clumsily put:

What systems are in place to regularly review patients who are prescribed dependence-forming medications?

You don’t need to have ‘systems’, let alone ‘systems in place’: you just need to review patients regularly who are prescribed dependence-forming medicines. But this is what doctors should do as a matter of course for all patients who are prescribed medicine(s) for potential long-term use.

Examples of overwriting also jump out at you in some of the advertisements in the back of the BMJ for doctors to join GP partnerships. Some of these would be good candidates for inclusion in the ‘Pseuds Corner’ column of the British satirical magazine, Private Eye, or perhaps for their ‘Desperate marketing’ cartoon:

We are looking for a forward-thinking, enthusiastic, dedicated, and caring GP…to join our successful 8-partner practice…We have an extremely friendly team…The GP partners are a close team and work on an ethos of openness

Obviously, they are not looking for a backward-thinking, unenthusiastic, undedicated, and uncaring GP to join their unsuccessful partnership. Then we’re told it’s a friendly team – I hope it wouldn’t be an unfriendly one – but what do they mean by extremely friendly? Putting it like that might make one wonder what goes on after office hours. And at first glance it’s odd that although the GP partners are a close team, they work on an ethos of openness.

Here’s another ad:

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a GP to join our thriving…practice and become a valued member of our team. We work from a modern purpose built building by the stunning marina and are forward thinking…and place the utmost importance on traditional holistic family medicine…We are spoilt with stunning beaches…as well as endless excellent restaurants

Presumably, this not a boring opportunity for a GP to join a languishing practice to become an unvalued member of their team. And there is a little too much alliteration: ‘purpose built building’ and ‘endless excellent restaurants’. Further, note that they place not just importance, but the utmost importance, not just on traditional family medicine, but on traditional holistic family medicine! As for the stunning marina and the stunning beaches, it sounds like a travel brochure.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Picture credit: Moosa Haleen on Unsplash