So, it seems that no matter how much times changes, some things stay the same. This extends to those Superheros (and their sidekicks), the ones we normally call “Doctor”. Oh yes, we’re back on the psychiatrists kick.
What have I got against psychiatrists? Aside from the impressive amounts of arrogance which may just be a clash of personalities, nothing really. I do, however, have issue with the mystique that surrounds doctors which says that doctors never make mistakes. Except the bad ones but then they’re bad doctors, that’s why they make mistakes and get caught. We really should be handing out capes and seeing these heros wearing their underwear on the outside. To suggest that they do make mistakes would be deemed heresy and so the unbeliever should be stoned, metaphorically of course.
Best get yourself down the metaphorical quarry then because here it comes! Doctors make mistakes. Even the best doctors in the world make mistakes because they’re human and all humans make mistakes. Some of them are relatively low key, some of them are fatal, but they are all mistakes and so are forgivable. Criminal neglect should always be chased down and punished correctly but we need to accept that doctors make mistakes although good doctors will always strive to learn from mistakes and try not to make them. Once we, the general public, accept that this is the case then things may end up being better for everyone. However, things aren’t quite so one sided so let’s bring the other side in.
Doctors, this is an open letter to you and includes the various people that make up the teams you operate within. We, the clients whom you serve want something which will go against everything you hold dear. We want you to be able to admit your mistakes. Ok, this can be very difficult because some mistakes can have fatal consequences and even if they don’t they can still have legal implications, but there needs to be a move to be more open about things, between yourselves and to the public. Why? Because a culture of secrecy puts immense amounts of pressure on you to be perfect and it prevents lessons being learned by the rest of the medical community when mistakes are made.
How does this affect those whom are subject to it? Well, apart from the iatrogenic factors that play a part, when we know mistakes are made yet those who make mistakes are defended and any suggestion of error is soundly denounced as being a figment of imagination, we lose trust. In the mental health field this can be catastrophic because if we don’t trust doctors then we are significantly less inclined to follow any course of treatment. If we don’t trust staff then we are significantly less inclined to talk about things which may be useful in treatment. If we suffer the attitude which blames the patient or trivialises their issues then we are (all together now) less inclined to engage with any staff.
I dunno, I know I’m hoping for a lot and there are legal implications to being open, but whilst there’s a fine line to be trodden upon, at this time very few are willing to approach that line in any way shape or form. Maybe some will talk about stuff and be less concerned with self protection and more concerned with patient needs.