WEMJ Volume 114 No. 1 - March 2015


Many times research has shown that medical practice should change but it has been slow to do so. In the first article of this issue Peter Dunn explains why the supine position for childbirth is just about the worst possible posture (apart, perhaps, from the mothers standing on their heads!).

Next we have an open letter from a very well respected member of the Bristol Medico Chirurgical Society: Dr. Alick Dowling. He explains why he has become a climate change skeptic. His views are compelling and balance articles we have previously published on “peak oil”. I have for some time been upset by the way in which it is not permitted for one to question the CO2 bogie story without receiving abuse. I do accept that there are changes in the climate but I am worried that they may be

a) Nothing to do with human activity. Volcanoes, sunspots and cosmic rays spring to mind. and/or

b) Due to human activity such as deforestation, poisoning, despoiling and pollution of the environment (other than due to CO2.)

If CO2 is not the main problem then concentrating on it will inevitably make matters worse. I cite four examples :

1) Years ago diesel cars were pushed as a “green” alternative to petrol engines. Along with other health care workers involved in management of chest diseases I was incensed by this… diesel vehicles produce carbon smuts and nitrogen oxides which are harmful to health and the environment generally.

2) Using ‘biofuels’ in cars inevitably uses large tracts of land and considerably energy usage in production as well as reducing the food supply.

3) Building dams for hydroelectricity in itself causes climate change….yet this is being promoted as a ‘green’ policy in many countries. The worst example may be the proposals for damming the mighty Amazon river. This would lead to further destruction of the rain forest.

4) Carbon trading has cost the NHS dear and benefitted companies such as BP! There are many more examples that I could give but suffice it to say that poor science, however well meaning, will lead to a poor outcome. It is vitally important to tackle pollution etc. but CO2 may well be the least of our problems.

Then we have a short abstract from our medical students: Does accurate surface anatomy Body painting increase student’s confidence in accurate clinical examinations. This project was presented to the Bristol Medico-Chirurgical monthly meeting and was a very enjoyable presentation. Well done lads!

Finally: the election is almost on us and the news is replete with reports of opinion polls and electioneering slogans. For what it is worth here is my prediction. The Conservatives will be the largest party in parliament but without an overall majority. They will cobble together an alliance including the Ulster Unionists and the Liberal democrats. This will come unstuck and, rather than permit an SNP-led Labour government Cameron will go to the country for a further election. It will be interesting to see if I am right.

Paul Goddard Hon. Editor 

WEMJ Vol 114 No. 1 March 2015 Article 1 


Controversy over the best posture for the mother to assume during childbirth remains as important and relevant today as in the past. Hence, the commentary has been recovered from the files in which it has lain buried for twenty years and presented unchanged except for minor editing and the addition of the illustrations. Download the full article


WEMJ Vol 114 No. 1 March 2015 Article 2

CLIMATE SCEPTICISM:A letter to the open-minded  Alick Dowling

I became a skeptic because of the data; the rate of warming in the late 20th century was just the same as the rate of warming in the first part of the century (with a cooling period around the 1950s-70s)...

Download the full article


WEMJ Vol 114 No. 1 March 2015 Article 3

 Does accurate surface anatomy Body painting increase student’s confidence in accurate clinical examinations? An innovative teaching technique. J Dorgham, J Woodcock, E Grove, Bristol University, UK

An innovative teaching methodology was developed to use body art to demonstrate surface anatomy and therefore teach students accurately how to perform the clinical examinations of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems...

Download the full article

Welcome to the West of England Medical Journal. This is the online journal of the Bristol Medico Chirurgical Society. The journal was formerly known as the Bristol Medico Chirurgical Journal and was first published in 1883.

This is a general medical journal and is available for everybody to read online. To access the issue please click on the link in the column to the left of this introduction.

Please see the Instruction for Authors if you wish to submit an article or send a letter.

View details of the WEMJ Editoral Board