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It is crucial that doctors listen to patients – and their families

Merope Mills’s recent article in the Guardian should be mandatory reading for all medical and nursing students. All of us who are senior doctors or nurses will recognise only too well the dangerous conditions that Merope describes: the senior doctors with overinflated egos; the internecine warfare between departments; the nursing staff and junior doctors who are rendered impotent by repeated attempts to galvanise action from off-site but know-it-all seniors; the lack of integrated thinking that results when there is no consistent lead clinician; and, most dangerous, not listening to the patient or their relatives, and not directly examining the patient.

Candour and co-production are terms much used in healthcare, but for some staff these aspects of care are a million miles away from the ego-driven practice in which they engage. This is why Merope’s advice is so important. Do not have blind faith in your clinician. Do not leave all the thinking to them. Do equip yourself with knowledge and, most of all, do demand to be treated as an equal partner in the care of your body or your loved one.

Current and former healthcare professionals respond to Merope Mills’s account of losing her daughter after a series of catastrophic medical errors.

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Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2022


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