Lee Coppack is the facilitator of the history fellows programme at the Faculty of the History and Philosophy of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. twitter: @coppackonrisk
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know about the data.
Well, I did have some concerns.
Perhaps I knew that they weren’t quite right.
But I didn’t know it would make a difference.
I had to publish something.
Well, I hoped it would be all right.
Perhaps I thought no one would notice it.
I didn’t know what my sponsor would do.
Well, perhaps I did have some idea.
Now, what can I do? I don’t know.
Deputy Editor’s note: This thought-provoking poem was initially shared at a creative writing for medical ethics event, hosted by the Society of Apothecaries. It is as relevant to primary care research as any other and captures the slipperiness of duty set against unforgiving demands of survival in the research environment. ‘I hoped it would be all right…’ is a temptation to be resisted, leading to the final bind the researcher find him/herself in as it dawns that all is not all right.