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The Hospital- My Response

April 7, 2009

I’ve just finished watching ‘The Hospital’ on C4, and I have to say I agree with the point they are trying to make: The NHS is underappreciated and young people don’t appreciate it. What, however, has incensed me, is that overdoses and self harm are lumped into this group of ‘self destructing behaviours’. I can understand that there is an issue to do with alcohol, that related injuries are costing the NHS a lot of money, and people are all too willing to go to hospital, when really, they would be better off going home and sleeping off the hangover. However, in our blame free culture, everyone needs to go so no-one can be sued. Anyway, I have digressed. Towards the end of the programme, a girl with a small stab wound was being treated by the female consultant who is present pretty much all through the programme. Until this point, I had agreed with pretty much all she was saying: we are a sad state of affairs, being drunk is less of a big thing. This girl, however, was 18 and on anti depressants and hadn’t eaten for 24 hours. This to me, is reasonable. She said that “she hadn’t been food shopping” and I can understand it… anyway, the consultant’s reaction shown later was something along the lines of “I can’t believe she can’t be bothered to go food shopping or not eat for 24 hours. She’s 18 and on anti- depressants. Does she not have anyone to look after her?”. You may be asking yourself why I’m so incensed, but it’s to do with the 18 and on ADs. The self harm, oding and now this? Maybe I’m overreacting, I can understand that every time someone presents in A&E, it costs the NHS money, but I would rather not be lumped in with drunks. I’m ashamed to see people doing that already (when I went to hospital with my flat mate after his drunken incident, I hated myself so much for ‘supporting’ him, seeing as it went against my views so much) but come on? If you’re depressed you don’t want to eat, and if I had to go to hospital for SH/ODing? I’d be embarrassed as hell, and I do not need to be judged by a profession who are apparently not meant to judge.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2009 10:42 am

    Yes, I was surprised at “I just can’t believe she can’t be bothered to go shopping…” Actually, the patient’s first reply had been that she didn’t have the money to.

    But I think the wider point was about the collapse of society, the combination of individuals not having the skills to look after themselves, and at the same time not having anyone else to look after them either. So it’s in that sense that she’s lumped in with the drunks — she’s caught up in the same social collapse.

  2. April 8, 2009 11:17 am

    Although I can see where you’re coming from, I would hate to be lumped into that group of ‘not having the skills to look after myself’. Personally, though, it’s been my choice to not tell people and if I were to, I *would* get support from my parents BUT I hate being looked after, being cooed over etc. I think the issue is more to do with, as the consultant said, it’s not a social taboo to be drunk in the street- I don’t think it’s a case of people not being able to look after themselves. When you’re depressed whatever may be logical to you, isn’t to those on the outside and I think that’s partly my point; the girl may not have been hungry/not been shopping/not had the money to do so, and to me it’s perfectly acceptable.

  3. April 8, 2009 2:28 pm

    You’re right. We don’t know that woman’s situation. It’s unfair to her personally for the film to use her as an example of not being able to look after yourself.

    But I think anyone who is frequently drunk on the street is definitely not able to look after themselves. No one who has the skills to look after themselves needs any ‘social taboo’ to tell them not to do that.

    What you seem to be saying about that woman is that you see yourself in her, like “There but for the grace of God…” I see indications in both your stories, in the very little I know of your stories, that things are not OK. I don’t make judgements about your skills, nevertheless I hold my breath.

  4. April 8, 2009 2:31 pm

    I didn’t see that programme, sounds interesting though. Maybe I can catch it on a repeat. That comment you mention sounds rather uninformed – you’d have thought a consultant at a busy hospital would know more about how having mental health issues might make it too hard to go to the shops for food.

  5. anon permalink
    April 8, 2009 4:42 pm

    It’s repeated on Monday 13th at 11:55 p.m. and also online for six weeks: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-hospital/catch-up#2872099

  6. April 10, 2009 1:47 pm

    thanks for posting the repeat times, I’ll give it a watch xx

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