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Stop worrying and sue instead

A home visit that wouldn't wait was similarly inspiring. It was phoned in as an old lady who lived alone had fallen. When I got to the granny-flat complex in which she lived I couldn't gain access. She wasn't answering her buzzer.

Prompted by visions of the old dear crawling across the floor, struggling to get to the door-release buzzer, I got the surgery to furnish me with some phone numbers. The pensioner didn't answer her phone. I got a response from her daughter's mobile, who gave a vague story of either one fall, or repeated falls, in a lady who was either in dire straits, or not too bad.

Suitably unenlightened I gained access by rapping the window of the complex's tea lounge, where a patient I knew was sitting and was happy to come and let me in.

The fallen lady wasn't in her flat. I tracked her down to the tea lounge. She'd kicked a door a week ago. Her bruised toes were fine; she'd been walking around as normal. It had happened when her private carers had been in tidying. So 'to cover themselves' they had insisted on a doctor's visit to confirm that the lady who'd been walking around for a week was allowed to walk around. Her daughter had been informed, but felt her St John Ambulance training was insufficient to judge whether a lightly bruised and fully functional big toe was nothing more than bruised. Apparently it takes a doctor to diagnose a bruise. So she too had requested a visit for her mum.

My bright-light revelation happened as I drove home from this visit. I realised that my role is to remove responsibility. Nothing more. Remove a person's responsibility for their own health and happiness, for the state of their marriage and career.

Remove their responsibility for how they have parented their children, and how they care for their own parents. Remove their responsibility for making their own decision. My job is to remove their responsibility for their own actions and the consequences of these actions.

If nothing is a client's fault, it must be someone else's. And of course 'where there's blame, there's a claim'.

How many consultations are initiated by a third party who needs you to remove responsibility from their shoulders, and place it on yours? Litigation is the new motivation.

Perhaps if I can embrace this new philosophy I will find the job less frustrating. And if I don't, I'll sue everybody!

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