Just before concluding Saagar’s inquest the coroner asked me, “Do you think your son was treated differently because you are a doctor?” At the time I could only think of the Daksha Emson Inquiry which concluded that “doctors may end up being treated less effectively than if they were ‘ordinary’ patients.”
In my experience as an anaesthetist when a colleague or their family members come into hospital to have a baby or an operation, however minor, they are approached as ‘high risk’ patients. They somehow seem to bring trouble with them. Red flags go up automatically. As far as possible they have a consultant anaesthetist and surgeon looking after them as a matter of professional courtesy. It doesn’t incur any extra cost. Courtesy often doesn’t.
Saagar was scheduled for a minor surgery at my hospital in February 2011. One of the most senior and highly respected surgeons in the country put him first on his list and a brilliant consultant colleague anaesthetised him. I did not ask for or expect any of this but was very grateful for it.
So, I am not sure how to answer that question. Was Saagar treated differently because I am a doctor?
Maybe the Honorary Consultant psychiatrist who made the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder assumed that I would know all about it. Maybe that is why he did not speak with me or Saagar’s father even once. Maybe the GP assumed the same. I knew as much about mental illness as an average psychiatrist would know about anaesthesia. Those assumptions are baseless.
Maybe Saagar would have received better care in a smaller town. Years ago, when I had decided to move from Belfast to London, one of my colleagues had commented, “You are going from being ‘a rich somebody’ to ‘a poor nobody’”. He was right.
Well. I wish he could have received the treatment that every single person deserves. If that would be the case I would not be the author of this article in the Huffington Post : Suicide – The Silent Epidemic.
I was asked by a Consultant Psychiatrist what medication he should prescribe for my daughter. I was not a doctor but a medical secretary who worked at that time in psychiatry. I understand they could have been professionally fearful, if something went wrong. I changed psychiatrists and she got better. Sadly on the second bout of depression she fell into 10 years later following a cannabis psychosis and then depression..the psychiatrist prescribed Prosac…she began to talk of wanting to run under a car…I told the psychiatrist wo said ‘no girls don’t to this sort of thing’ I was essentially dismissed as a daft mother….a week later it was a train not a car. I will carry these words to my grave!!
Dear Marie. Big hug to you. It is unbelievable how these thoughts and conversations never leave you. They haunt me too – constantly. Sending you lots of love. xxx When the so called ‘experts’ make such huge errors in judgement, what can be done? xxx We can only demand better care and refuse to accept this kind of attitude in the future. I hope together we can achieve that. xxx
I am so sorry about the loss of your son. I read the HuffPost article and I was very sad. My thoughts are with you.
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Thank you. Take care of yourself. My thoughts are with you too. Lots of love, S. xxx