When that trust involves our health, it becomes even more important that it is honoured.
When you are diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer most of us place our trust in the people who are there to look after us; our GP; our Oncologist; the medical staff on the wards etc.
Imagine having that trust betrayed and finding out that those who you thought were supposed to have your best interests at heart were doing completely the opposite?
I came across a story recently about 2 oncologists who treated cancer patients with an extra strong chemo regime without telling the patients and it only came to light years later because of a whistleblower. Rather disturbing is the fact that the oncologists are still working, treating other patients, and have faced no disciplinary action whist the whistleblower was suspended!
As patients we need to be able to place our complete trust in the people treating us yet very often that trust is violated. We are made to feel as though we should not ask questions and should just submit to whatever treatment is deemed suitable for us. Once treatment has ended many of us are just left to our own devices and expected to just get on with life and be thankful for what has been done to us. I remember when I went for my first chemo session and one of the nurses telling me that each bag of chemo solution cost £1,000 – almost as if I should be forever grateful that this money was being spent on me! Well actually I wasn’t; I would much rather have not been in the position to needed it but there you go.
I had very little trust in my own oncologist; he was a very pompous and arrogant man and in the 5/6 minutes I spent in his office when I first went to see him he spent most of the time looking at his computer screen. I felt like just a number on his list of tasks to do that morning. I was told that I would be having chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy and that would “sort me out”. At no time was I given the option of asking questions or even declining the treatment. To be fair, I was very upset and having travelled for 3 hours in the back of a patient transport ambulance to get to the appointment, I wasn’t feeling too good either especially as it was only 5 weeks since I had had my hysterectomy. Had I known what I know now I would have questioned him and demanded to know about the side effects of the treatment and why he felt it necessary to prescribe both treatments, especially as according to the CRUK website “It isn't usual to have chemotherapy for early stage womb cancer, stage 1 or 2 at the moment. This is because there is not enough evidence that chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) reduces the risk of the cancer coming back”
The patients who were treated by these 2 oncologists have apparently received no apology, just a letter from the hospital concerned which stated “We are writing to let you know of a situation that has arisen. We do not believe this has caused you disadvantage or harm.’
Hardly something that is going to promote trust between patient and Doctor!
I hear time and again from women who say that they are not listened to; their fears are dismissed; their questions go unanswered and they have very little trust in the people who are supposed to be treating them. This needs to change. We are in the 21st century, not the 19th. We have internet access now and many patients are a lot more clued up about their medical conditions these days and although some GP’s and Doctors don’t like it, they are going to have to get used to it. Patients are becoming more empowered and deserve to be treated with respect. Only then will the trust return.
You can read the full article here
xx Kaz xx