Anyone can make a mistake. A professional can be totally wrong about things. I, of course, am often wrong about things. I am human.
I dropped a pan the other day. It landed on top of a container of silverware. The silverware all dumped into the crack between the stove and the wall, a crack that’s there due to slipshod design here in public housing. I said lots of swear words after that silverware fell into the crack, but no one heard. Then, I figured out how to retrieve it all, and went about my day.
Can a doctor make a mistake? Well, you might be thinking that if a doctor decided something, it must be valid. Most people assume that ALL doctor decisions have validity. Not true! That’s why we get second opinions. Doctor #1 says, “I think you need an operation. It needs to be taken out.” Doctor #2 says, “Wait a minute. Looking more carefully at this x-ray, I see the problem is caused by something entirely different. Amputation won’t be necessary at all.”
Of course, this happens all the time. The patient ends up happy. We just decide that Doctor #1 was wrong and we stick with Doctor #2.
Unfortunately, if you are locked in a hospital, under the care of a psychiatrist, and that psychiatrist sees you and then decides your fate, there’s not much you can do. You can’t even leave, go elsewhere, and get a second opinion. You rarely get a change of staff, cuz everyone says you’re “not cooperating with care,” or they tell you you’re nuts.
There’s a case at Children’s Hospital in Boston right now that I’m involved with that’s about this same thing: misdiagnosis. The hospital is using force and not allowing second opinion. In this case, the patient is a minor.
Of course, this abuse happens to just about every psych patient out there. Psychiatric imprisonment is the status quo, condoned by society. How many times have we heard, “She’s nuts and should be locked up!”
Can mistakes be made? Sure! I once had five teeth pulled and lo and behold, after that was done, they STILL hadn’t pulled the cracked tooth. They had pulled out five wrong teeth. I had a cracked tooth in my mouth and it got infected. Know something? This is minor compared to the mistakes psychiatry made on me.
The point is not that they make mistakes. The point is how they handle them. Cuz you can’t go to a different shrink when you are stuck in a hospital. Once they realize they are wrong, do they act like asses, or do they gracefully apologize and undo what they’ve done? Or do they never, ever admit they are wrong even though they know damned well they are?
A wrong pill is one thing. That’s gonna happen. But to keep on giving the wrong pill, despite repeated complaints, or obvious bad reactions…..This is inhumane. Or to keep someone locked up when they shouldn’t be, or to take away their rights without medical reason….this is inhumane.
I would say I used to hear people who came home from the hospital with a smile on their face. Not anymore. Now, 90% of people I speak to tell me horror stories. Not just mental patients. I mean people on the bus, strangers, and anyone elderly I know. All nightmares. They say they will never go back if they can help it. What’s wrong with healthcare?
Oh sure, you hear the occasional “good” story. But this is how it’s worded: “I had to fight the staff every step of the way to get good care,” or, “I was in care and it was bad but then PROVED to them that I WANTED to get better.” Oh, please. This implies that people receive bad care because they don’t want to get better or have bad morals. Some people claim that “care” only works for people who have the right attitude, but that’s an excuse for poor care.
There is no bad attitude, there are only folks that care so deeply about their dignity that they stand up for their rights a little more than others. They make a little more noise. For that, they are called “uncooperative” and given the boot, or locked up worse, or treated with cruelty, or refused care entirely.
And claiming you have to have the “right attitude,” that you have to be “ready for it,” puts the blame on the patient for what in fact is lousy care. We all want to get better, we always did, and there’s nothing to prove. Why should we have to fight for good healthcare?
Why do so many people have to get “sectioned” to hospitals? Is it because they don’t want to get better? No! People I’ve spoken to refuse to go back because of a prior bad experience. They are terrified just like me.
Everyone I’ve spoken to is dying to get better. Literally dying.
So will we all get together to see that things change? I hope so.