BMJ pulls paper after couple object to pics of their buttocks in the tabloids

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

ButtocksThe British Medical Journal has pulled a paper on parasitic worms after the subjects of the study objected when photos of their buttocks were published by tabloids. The Independent reports that an unnamed husband and wife contracted the infection on the island of Martinique during a Caribbean cruise.

While enjoying a trip to the beach, the couple reported feeling an initial burning sensation on their skin as they sat on the sand. A day later, the 52-year-old woman noticed a rash of “red pinprick marks” had appeared across her buttocks, according to the BMJ study.

The pair later sought treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where doctors told them they had cutaneous larva migrans, also known as hookworm larvae. They were both treated with medication to treat parasitic infections after a round of steroids and antibiotics they were given on the cruise ship failed to work.

But, the report says, the trouble arose when Dr Douglas Maslin at Addenbrooke’s decided to share the case through the BMJ after noting a “lack of familiarity with the condition” had delayed his team from making a diagnosis. Photographs of the couples’ infections posted alongside Dr Maslin’s report were soon picked up by several tabloids.

Within days of the findings being published, the photographs were being run next to stories with headlines such as “Caribbean getaway leaves a nasty souvenir” and “Beach couple left with burning red rashes on their backsides”.

The report says the exposure proved too much for at least one of the subjects, as the BMJ has now accepted a request to remove the study from its records. “This article has been withdrawn”, the BMJ website now reads in the place where the article once was.
“With no admission of liability, BMJ has removed this article voluntarily at the request of the patient concerned.”

The report says Addenbrooke’s Hospital has been contacted for comment.

The Independent report

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter

Related Posts

Thank you for subscribing to MedicalBrief

MedicalBrief is Africa’s premier medical news and research weekly newsletter. MedicalBrief is published every Thursday and delivered free of charge by email to over 33 000 health professionals.

Please consider completing the form below. The information you supply is optional and will only be used to compile a demographic profile of our subscribers. Your personal details will never be shared with a third party.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the form.