BMJ – a doctor’s unsent suicide note to the GMC

This poignant note shows up what it can be like for a health professional undergoing investigation by the GMC. I cannot help feeling deeply for this doctor and completely understand his sense of injustice and powerlessness because I have ‘been there’.

However, my sense of injustice and powerlessness came when, as a patient, having failed to get acknowledgement of a particular wrongdoing (so that future patients would not suffer) via gentle hospital channels, then reluctantly via a formal complaint process, I realised some things are too big – some people too powerful.

The only recourse then was to write about it (Nothing Personal, disturbing undercurrents in cancer care) – so again, I can empathise with this doctor’s note.

Incidentally, the complaints process was delayed several times and the stress I endured over this prolonged period (after aggressive cancer treatment) would be difficult to describe. To be sure, my career was not on the line, but I was plagued day and night with what I thought of as ‘playback’ and later realised was post traumatic stress, along with guilt that I had not managed to speak out and change things for future patients. And no, of course I didn’t receive trauma psychotherapy help during the ordeal and my health was never enquired about either!

Justice can be elusive whether one is a patient or a doctor.

BMJ 2015;350:h813


About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
This entry was posted in Compassion in healthcare, complaint, healthcare modernisation, patient safety and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s