Waiting for the GMC tribunal to come back from ‘in camera’ (secret) discussion today. It’s impossible to do anything constructive. Wait. Mope about in bed. Play Candycrush. Clean the floor badly. Answer a few work emails. Pace around the house. Play Candycrush. Poke at weeds for a bit. Mope. Back to bed. Wait.
We’ve waited four years. But the events of last week make it impossible to concentrate. The cross-examination brutality, the revelation that this blog was causing anxiety among consultants before LB was admitted to the unit and other outlandish arguments by the doctor’s barrister, RP.
Including his bizarre claim he had no computer access to produce submissions for the Friday morning. In central Manchester… sitting next to a colleague with a laptop.
There was incredulity and practical info on twitter.
The next morning RP circulated a set of handwritten bullet points ‘not in narrative form’:
He later argued:
Not all of us are au fait with narrative… You have to find a computer first and then go into free text…
Oh my. Did he handwrite a set of bullet points (a day or so after deftly destroying me as a reliable witness) to demonstrate the point that computers aren’t necessary to do a good job as a consultant?
The day ended with this comment:
The GMC are keeping us informed about the timetable and process of this hideous process with thoughtfulness and sensitivity.
This is where we are at:
“You should include the fact you haven’t had a bath since LB died.” said Rosie. “And you loved them. I remember when we were little and we used to come in and chat to you. Sitting on the toilet…”
My definition of crap has taken such a battering I no longer have words for what we’re enduring.
We’ve been pushed into such an extreme space now that daily interaction with people is becoming difficult. Throwaway conversations in the street about the weather, summer holidays, dogs are hard to engage with. You can’t lay the shit storm we’ve been subjected to on any passerby or acquaintance. At the same time, saying, vacuously “Yeah, fine” is harder to say.
This led me to think about another layer to the campaign and social media activity; the sharing of rage, distress, incredulity and bafflement. The discussion and commentary. We know we wouldn’t have got ‘this far’ without social media. I hadn’t thought about how we would have personally been derailed months or years ago if we were experiencing this in isolation.
An hour into Mr P’s interrogation last Tuesday I was doubting myself.
It’s harder to doubt when so many others express sense, offer expertise (in any shape or form) and solidarity. And genuinely care.
I just do not know how you are bearing up and to be honest it sounds as though you are not. I stopped what I was doing last week and just thought about you and it was just a fleeting thought while I was in hiluday but it was completely about you’. I seriously worried for your health and how Ill this is making you.
You have to carry on I know that but the consequences for you and your family have been devastating.
I hope Toms results are what he expects and are not overshadowed by another day of massive worry and proceedings
Thoughts and love with you all with your determination and continued battle for justice for LB xxxx
A hellish nightmare. – where justice is half seen through a door that we are not permitted to pass.
for.. the guilty …. are the gatekeepers.
Sara Never never doubt yourself. This is what the barrister seeks to do, and is trained to do. I experienced this first in the criminal court, when I had been indecently assaulted(ucky) The defending barrister took my evidence and battered me and battered me as to my reliability. I complained to the CPS That no one has the right to treat me in this way. In the end the perpetrator was found not guilty on a technicality, although there was no doubt he had done it You are better than all of them put together. The barristers and judges have continued to harrass me through 11 years in the Court of Protection DONT LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN., How dare they. And we are all there behind you, cheering you on
The sharing of your experience has uncovered so much and opened many eyes, and your book will carry this to a wider audience. You have achieved so much towards gaining Justice4LB, but at huge cost to yourself, mental and physical. Whatever the outcome of the tribunal, you must give yourself space away from this terrible pressure. We all need to find some peace of mind to survive and even the bravest soldiers are allowed time away from the battlefield.
On doubting yourself – the pebble your blog and tweets have thrown into the professional pond have also got others reflecting on their own practice. (I’ve even thought back to mine in the past, though nothing can be changed in retrospect, and searched my conscience). At the end I think the important phrase is “in good faith”. Sometimes practitioners make mistakes because at the time they come to a decision they are unaware of some factor or they are constrained by limitations they can’t change or they are just exhausted. But when people act in good faith we can forgive and accept. What we can’t accept is the wickedness of consistent, lazy and careless bad practice, which corrupts whole organisations. You’ve encountered this in the worst possible way. But your support comes from all of us who meet it in many forms and, like you, are desperate to make things change.
Sara I can only repeat what others have said. Take care of yourself, if you can under this barrage. And try to hold onto the fact that you have done more than anyone I can think of to shine a light on the care-less, heed-less and wicked disregard of people with learning disabilities and their families. It will take us to a better place, I know. I just hope you can hold up. They cannot defeat you now, whatever happens. Your courage and determination and sheer hard work, it will not be wasted, we won’t let it. Jan
You are responsible Sara for huge change.You dont realise the extent of what you have achieved for those with no voice. You do need to look after yourself though. I do hope you will one day be able to live a joyful live and be able to congratulate yourself for the amazing things and changes you have achieved. Thank you so much.x
Sara – ditto everyone else’s comments.
One of the first comments on my blog was, “Keep battling on and don’t let the b*****s grind you down!” Wise words. “Don’t let the buggers get you down” came to fame as an inscription on a watch Asil Nadir (of Polly Peck fame) gave to Michael Mates MP. He resigned as Northern Ireland Minister. ‘Bastards’ fits the bill nicely too.
So take very good care of yourself. If you let the buggers (and bastards!) get you down, they win!