Day 454

“I am sorry that I did not refer him back to the Community Mental Health Team but at the time of my assessments in September and October I did not feel this was clinically necessary”, said the letter from the GP.

I am sorry but I think this is ugly.
I am sorry but I don’t think you are sorry.
I am sorry but using the word ‘but’ is a justification and not an apology.
I am sorry but your clinical judgement was clearly flawed.
I am sorry but this is not good enough.
I am sorry but I might have to change my mind about taking this further before others come to harm.
I am sorry but this statement does not give me any idea of your understanding of the damage caused by this mistake.
I am sorry but it also does not indicate that any lessons have been learnt for the future.

When an apology is heartfelt, it comes through clearly.
If he had said, “At the time I did not think he needed a referral. I am really sorry I didn’t refer him back.” it would sound more real.

Is the litigious nature of medicine preventing us from connecting at a human level? Should we need lawyers to find the truth in a case like this? Are we not capable of looking at ourselves and our systems and figure out the deficiencies?

An apology is a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Definitely no ‘buts’.


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