We received copies of the MPTS tribunal hearing transcripts yesterday. I strangely felt some relief reading the finer detail of what unfolded that day last summer. While my brain and heart wept in inept tandem alongside a rage I’m kind of scared of, I could at least better understand why I ended up unwell. We all knew it was traumatic at the time – Rich and Rosie, Charlotte Haworth Hird, George Julian live tweeting – but my memory was hazy. Now I know.
I’m adding detail here to the post I wrote about the experience; Writing Trauma. Long post warning but this is to give families some idea of what they may face in similar circumstances. And to document how barbaric the (unchecked) processes are.
A few general thoughts:
- You don’t typically see medical notes before someone dies. So if for example a psychiatrist jots in medical notes ‘unwitnessed seizure’ the fact you didn’t make it clear the type of seizure you’re ‘pretty sure’ it was is because you’re going through a lot of information and, at that point, it isn’t the most important detail. Once someone dies or experiences serious harm these notes become ‘hard evidence’ despite always being a partial account.
- It’s hard to accept Murphy’s new found remorse as genuine given she sat next to Partridge throughout this cross-examination without comment.
- I can imagine medics reading this thinking ‘Yep. Well there clearly needs to be robust challenge to the evidence produced. This is a medic with her whole career at stake…’ That’s fine. There’s a process in place here. A process that should not involve trying to destroy someone in an attempt to get a doctor off the hook.
- I’m left wondering if the panel allowed the brutality because there’s an assumption of underlying ‘vexatious patient/family’ narratives at these hearings. They seemed oblivious to the trauma being generated in front of them.
I began by counting the number of questions Partridge asked me. At the time they blurred into a dizziness that I still think about when I wake in the early hours of the morning.
He asked me 157 questions.
Page turning and more
I mentioned page turning in Writing Trauma. It wasn’t only the physical turning of pages in the deep lever arch file but the harrowing glimpses of words, notes and comments about LB across his 107 days in the unit that this generated.
Partridge page turning in action:
‘Can you just turn back to the first statement at page 1?’
‘It is at page 644 it begins.’
‘If you just look at page 645…’
‘If you just go over the page to 646…’
‘If you then go on to page 647 for me…’
‘Can you just have a look in the notes for me at something on page 631?’
‘If you look at 623…’
‘Just look at paragraph 57 of your witness statement. If it helps, there are some notes at 236. I hope I have got the right reference. No. I beg your pardon. Just pause a moment, Dr Ryan, I do not want to send you on a wild goose chase. There are some notes at 698 that say CTM meeting, clinical team meeting.’
‘Can we look at the second meeting on page 698?’
‘Just have a look at the document for us, will you? It is attached to Dr Murphy’s statement. You have got Dr Murphy’s statement still there just on the side, I think. There are a number of exhibits to this document. It is Exhibit VEM/5.’
‘…if you go back to that file at page 692 – sorry, just before you leave that page, Dr Ryan, page 699, can I just ask you about the reference to the seizure monitor?’
‘If we go to page 692…’
‘If you go to 689…’
‘Just go to 685…’
‘If you look at page 673…’
‘If we have a look at 10 June, page 676…’
‘At the end of this at page 679…’
‘At the top of 677…’
‘Can I ask you about the dynamic that was created because if you just look at page 693 for a moment in your bundle there…’
[Break requested by me]
‘… can I ask you to look at page 693…’
‘Just going back to look at your statement, let us go back to paragraph 21′ I think it is at page 70…’
‘Could I ask you just to look at something we looked at slightly earlier at page 647 in the bundle?’
‘I want then to ask you about the incident that you talk about under your heading, “Seizure at the unit”. It begins at page 32 of your statement.’
‘I think you describe at page 83 that you went to see Patient A on the ward.’
‘At 84, that you did not discuss with Patient A about how he had bitten his tongue.’
‘Let us just look at that note for a moment. This is page 541…’
‘On 3 June, this is at page 680…’
‘If we just look at your paragraph 94 – sorry to move you around – back to page 35,
Again we have to go back to the care plan documents at page 676…’
‘It is page 670, 10 June…’
‘Sorry to move you around…’ after nearly two hours of battery by bundle.
Page turning was combined with other tactics:
Just look at paragraph 57 of your witness statement. Dr Ryan, this is not a memory test any of this. It is your witness statement at paragraph 57 and it is page 26. I just want to be clear about this.
Q Therefore you did not hear that conversation.
Q How long was he gone for, can you recall? If you cannot remember just say so.
A No idea, it was not long.
Q Again you have no recollection. I do not want to go through these ad nauseam but you have no independent recollection of these conversations.
Q If we go to page 692, this is 22 April and it is another CTM, at the top there, you will see the people who were present. Dr Murphy was not present on this occasion. Do you know if you would have been present?
A No. If I am not on the list, I would not have been.
Q Can you remember if there was any reason for that; was it work?
Contemporaneous impact evidence and the death blow
My discomfort at the interrogation was apparent in the transcript.
Q At the end of this at page 679, there is note here whereby attendees of the meeting were invited by mum to brainstorm plans for Patient A’s future.
Q You had a fairly active role.
A Yes, in that meeting.
Q You did not feel in any way cowed, shall we say, to put across your point?
A No, I felt as I feel right now. I felt deeply uncomfortable and distressed and at a loss really but we went through the process of the meeting.
And I was able to identify the death blow among the raining punches. The point that pushed me beyond endurance. I’d thought it was when Partridge described how upset Murphy was by my description of her. That when I asked the panel for a break. It wasn’t. It was later.
When Partridge too dismissed LB’s seizure.
Q That is 20 May, is it not?
Q That is after the – again let us try and be neutral about this – event with the tongue biting.
A It was a seizure.
Q Yes, I know that you feel it was a seizure. I understand that.
A It was a seizure.
It was a seizure.