Constructing remorse…

I’m not sure where I’m at right now. An odd mix of physical and emotional pain, despair, rage, intensity, incredulity, powerlessness. A heady mix of summat there’s no name for. Four years on from referring Valerie Murphy to the GMC. Seven months since her tribunal started in August 2017. My cross-examination during that first hearing. The drawing out of this process across two weekends in November and three days this week. Being battered with further evidence, excuses and shite.

A slow and inexorable torture.

Enter ‘remorse’

Remorse arrived in Manchester this week. Late in the day but Murphy’s barrister explained ‘the blessing’ of insight can take time for some doctors. [Yes really.]

George Julian carefully traced the crystallisation of this remorse over 4.5 years.

Short version here:

A remorse drenched reflective statement signed days before the hearing was shared with the panel.

Murphy even pitched up with a new version of the yellow card story. An exemplar in how ‘facts’ can be retrospectively squeezed into newly discovered remorse spaces. Bit of a fakery giveaway here with her aim ‘from’ rather than ‘of’ this project:

Someone has to drive this through she told the panel between sniffles, ‘a bad headache’ and having been apparently “emotionally broken” by these events.

The yellow card narrative. A redemption song.

Sense and sensibility

Stepping back, it’s obviously not possible to raise awareness of your own failings until you recognise you’ve failed. Given this recognition only happened in the last week or so it’s unlikely Murphy has been openly talking about her failings while spreading the news about the yellow card. [While off work sick].

Anyone calmly sitting next to their barrister tearing strips off a mother whose son died under their care is not ‘open about their personal failings’.

The panel must know this. They were there. They’ve read the mountain of documentation which includes shifting the blame to anyone or anything that moves.

Followers of the live twitter feed collectively groaned on Monday morning when after light questioning it transpired that the pioneering yellow card team of four had never met. A slow collapsing into vague reference to a chance meeting with one of the team at a conference back in 2014/5 and, the ultimate farce, regular meetings with the second who happens to be Murphy’s husband.

George live tweeting the proceeding was pulled up for ‘audible expression’.

The absurdity of the evidence presented on Monday and the subsequent acceptance of the panel to swallow this was more than apparent to those following.

The decision

The decision was published mid afternoon on Wednesday. 12 months suspension and another review. The sanction document (I’ve only managed to read up to page 8 so far) captures so much horror it’s difficult to understand the decision. Or this process really.IMG_3513

And then. Under mitigating circumstances on p7. This.

‘The difficult field of adult learning difficulties.’

It was the ‘difficult field of learning difficulties’ what did it for LB [for Danny Tozer, Edward Hartley, Thomas Rawnsley, Stephanie Binchcliffe, Anthony Dawson, Sarah Burnley… and so many others].

‘Difficult’ which, in this context, means less than. Less than human. Entitled to less than care in shoddy, substandard surroundings. Murphy was never going to be struck off for a less than death. She might have done nothing remotely resembling being a doctor but she only had to whip out a bit of made up remorse and a shabby incoherent story at the 11th hour to avoid erasure.

This damning statement by the panel effectively endorses the idea that certain people can expect to be treated appallingly. Utterly, utterly shameful.

11 thoughts on “Constructing remorse…

  1. It is utterly incomprehensible, and reprehensible, that after all you have suffered through this process, and the loss of your precious son, that his life is only worth a year of her practice. As you say, people with learning disabilities are not considered worthy of full care. Sloven demonstrated this over and over again with all the univestigated deaths. I cannot begin to imagine your suffering, and admire the dignity you have shown throughout, in stark contrast to the “It wasn’t our fault” culture of Sloven.

  2. Devastated if unsurprised. This decision is entirely inconsistent with another MPTS decision CRASH knows of – and wintessed the incident that led to disciplinary action.

    And when will we next hear of Sloven ‘dropping nurses in it’ whilst not reporting Consultants.

    Oh dear – it happened this week only worse – when Sloven vilified, not a nurse, but a very young and inexperienced support worker (with no legal representation) at Winchester Coroner’s Court without any acceptance that her supervisor, the system and the culture might be at fault. So another life effectively sacrificed (the young support worker) on Sloven’s altar with no remorse or even condolences expressed by the Trust at the Inquest. As a person of influence within the Trust wrote to another (with a copy to CRASH):

    “His [the new CEO] claim to want an open culture is at odds with allowing this girl to carry the can, and it will put the fear of god in all the staff who will redouble their efforts to hide any mistakes. His behaviour is no different to the last lot, he could have briefed the lawyer not to crush her. Did you realize she had NO legal representation and was accompanied by her Mother to court according to [CRASH]” [CRASH was present at Day 2 of the Inquest.]

    Sloven even tried to trash the deceased’s reputation with the jury (but not the press and the public excluded] but Counsel for the family and the Coroner correctly put a stop to that as irrelevant. This took place even after the Coroner had instructed Counsel not to raise the issue once already.

    CRASH will provide a full write up in due course but is currently dealing with the fallout. Meanwhile, if interested, go to the Daily Echo (Southampton) web site and search “Southern Health”.

  3. ….and the ‘get out of jail card’ is that they have a learning disability so we can let things slide a bit when treating them because they are not really like us. Are they? No one will complain if we cock up.

    They don’t have the same emotions do they? Do they know what is happening to them? Do they understand us when we are talking over their heads? Can they feel pain? Do they miss their loved ones when they are moved away from them? I doubt it. Lets carry on drugging them, easier than finding out how they feel.

    The last line of a song about Vincent Van Gogh sums it up . ‘They would not listen. They did not know how. Perhaps they never will’

  4. Sadly so Pauline.

    My son has been in hospital for over two months; admitted dreadfully ill, he was further injured by accident soon after he was admitted and this has extended his stay. These have been stressful months.

    And the last years have been full of ‘difficulty’. That pretty instubstantial word for disrespectful, neglectful and poor – at best – Social ‘care’ translated into continuous stuggle for so many, just to obtain and retain even minimal care. Far less than a complete and fulfilled life. For him, my boy.. And for ‘other’ peoples boys and girls.

    A pretty tactless person thought it helpful to ask me ‘kindly’ if it would have not been better had he not been born…That I could have lived another life..(whose?). Had I had the choice, would I ”have aborted him”.

    My wise handsome gifted son.. now a middleaged man. My grown boy, who has been so patient and uncomplaining and who has retained for us our hope with his wonderful sense of humour. For all these weeks. Better off dead ? In exchange for..a ‘better’ life.

    I asked her/him (‘kindly’) ‘who would we come for next’ ? Whose son or daughter is next in line to be found less – in value. And ‘better’, dead.

    … next in line to be …too less…too different …to live ?

    We have been there before.

  5. less than.
    I used to teach this stuff…I used to get to spend 2 years with foundation degree students all committed thoughtful people who understood the concept that (careful, theres a shocker coming) a learning disability doesnt mean you are a person of ‘lesser value’.
    Together we explored historical context (crucial in my opinion), current models of practice and provision, and 12 long weeks exploring ethics because as they all grasped – the continued medical discourse of ‘damaged”defective’ ‘difficult’ coupled with the pseudo-economic arguements about ‘contribution’ ‘economic value’ meant they needed to look at and understand ethics to a level that was questioned as “too in-depth for foundation degree” when we wrote it.
    At work the self advocates include the most inspirational woman I have ever met, they are all just people – and they are trying hard to stay afloat while a torrent of shit reigns down on them. And I’m scared. For all of them.

    • The torrent, comes from people who scavenge and exploit better people for money – and do harm.
      It’s tortuous, worse than ‘survival of the fittest’.
      ‘The young consultant in the difficult field of learning disabilities’ wouldn’t happen in cardiovascular surgery. If parents can construct therapy and know what proper input should look like, how can an inexperienced person ever be called a consultant?
      Valerie Murphy’s name is depressing to read.
      I knew an ST4 (young consultant) who took guidance from my knowledge, so ‘young consultant’ is nothing to hide behind. What a daft thing to say.
      The patient or carer is a ‘partner in care’ according to the RCPsych, so why does any psychiatrist in practice behave this badly?
      Instead of being there for mental wellbeing, they destroy people..?Could this happen in any other medical field?
      Sorry I can’t find words. I just know that this sort of psychiatrist isn’t any sort of doctor – no good at mental or physical symptoms – failed at being a real doctor. So many come into the field of learning disabilities as they’re no good at medicine or surgery.

      • One bereaved mother alleges that a senior Sloven executive (possibly even a Consultant Psychiatrist) told her that her beloved son had been seen by a “Baby doctor.” Wonderful!

  6. Pingback: Power, irony and the ‘sorry’ ship… | mydaftlife

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