I revisited the letter from the Oxfordshire County Council commissioner this week.
Christallbloodymighty. The 9 page letter sent to a disability rights activist a year or so after LB died and passed on to us just before his inquest in October 2015.
With increased incredulity, rage and distress, I googled her. Blimey. A more recent local news story. Mrs Cross of Oxford. Sent a free lesson at a now closed leisure centre. She seems more outraged by this than what happened to LB.
The first part of section 10 of the letter begins:
So much so fucking wrong.
- The erasure of LB.
- The diminishing of what happened to one ‘frustration’ (of many?)
- The removal of agency; I’m out of control, irrational, hysterical.
- Blaming the blog
- Checking people are still alive [howl]
- Blaming admin
- Prioritising the absence of a particular colleague
- Erasing LB.
Sending a letter to a patient who died a preventable death on your watch is more than ‘crass’, ‘upsetting’ or ‘unfortunate’.
Writing this letter and bleating about a random promotional freebie exercise class to a local paper screams so much so wrong with values.
Has (the audacity of) publicly documenting poor provision on ‘the blog’ and the light shone by #JusticeforLB turned senior public officials into monsters?
Or just exposed reams of rubbish wrapped up in ‘No one will ever know about or expose our inadequacies’ complacency parcels?
I’m struck by the use of the word ‘upsetting’. In Josh Halliday’s Guardian piece about the tribunal, the MPTS responded
We are sorry to hear how upsetting Dr Ryan found the process of giving evidence to the tribunal.
An extraordinary trivialising of trauma.
‘Upsetting’. They heard how upsetting I found it? How? Through Josh’s questions? From MPTS staff present? From jibber jabber by the coffee machine?
From the clearly upset clerk who led me into that vicious den, removed me from it for a few minutes and then returned me to it?
Upsetting. What is ‘upsetting’?
LB missing his beloved Olympia Horse of the Year Show because of whooping cough. [We both had whooping cough, as did Fran’s son, James. I have a tear inducing fondness/nostalgia remembering those whooping cough weeks]. I was upset that LB missed the horse show.
Upset seems to relate to missing things. An event, a job, an exam pass, a promotion, a ticket, an opening, a closing, a dying plant, a building, a pub, a writer, an actor.
But it ain’t receiving a letter addressed to your dead son telling him how well the hospital he died in is going to care for him in the coming year.
Or being forced to answer a battery of nasty, credibility shredding non-questions for two hours in front of a tribunal panel and the clinician responsible for your child’s care.
As time drags on, space emerges to reflect more clearly on what happened. To make reflections, sense or no sense. There are clear similarities between the responses of the commissioner, Murphy, Percy and others.
Cut from the same cloth. Cloth woven with a thread that obliterates humanity, reflection and recognition of people and their families. No remorse, no genuine sorry, no regret, no nothing. Just blame. The mother, the blog, the frontline staff. [Dip into the Katrina Percy reply for an extraordinary letter with 40 or so mentions of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ in just over two two pages.]
I’m wondering how far the stain of this model of ‘leadership’/senior NHS staff spreads. Are commissioners, learning disability psychiatrists, Trust CEO’s typically petty minded, self obsessed and ignorant of the lives and love of the families they are supposed to be serving? Is this unchecked or even encouraged by their peers/the culture of the senior tier?
And to those of you still monitoring this blog with a defamation lens. In case you still ain’t got it. Our beautiful boy died. He died.