In yesterday’s Standard I was struck by one article in the normal tedious parade of celebrity features on the usual suspects: Petronella Ecclestone, Naomi Campbell, dressed as a cowboy in boob tube, and of course Simon Cowell. A tribunal hearing into Chelmsford hospital was reported after the death of a student in A & E. Nothing remarkable here, except the student was admitted after drinking a bottle of rum in 15 minutes in fresher’s week following a bet. It was a poor article, as the bet was not reported, nor the circumstances of the drinking session. The student’s mother was quoted for dreading the fact that the doctor was practising.
We all know that A and E units up and down the country are abused. The poor overworked team have to take immediate assessment and prioritise. A student on a drinking binge would not feature high on the list if he was just very drunk. In our blame culture a mother is only too quick to hold a doctor responsible and the person in question was named, even though no finding was made. There was no criticism of why her son was drinking a bottle of rum in 15 minutes, nor were any other students involved interviewed. I would be interested to know the circumstance of this bet, if the student had any history of drinking, whether anyone present at the binge could describe his condition, who made the arrangements to admit him to A and E. If it was by ambulance, the para medic team are immensely capable. I know my own father had several episodes when we had to call an ambulance and I was tremendously impressed by the para medics, who set up a mini theatre in his home, and the attentive care at A & E
Without knowing the total facts, this seems to be blaming an unfortunate who will bear the responsibility for the rest of her medical career too quickly, whilst someone silly enough to down a bottle of rum in 15 minutes is deemed not culpable.