Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Doing the rounds

Doing the rounds : "The list of hospital visiting times, in particular, is heartbreaking. It makes me go hot and cold with anger, misery and a retrospective sense of helplessness. The emotional effects of such institutionalized brutality are too painful to hold in the imagination. How on earth can it have happened? How can people have believed that it was a good thing? How could doctors and nurses have been so blind to the distress they were causing, and so uncritical of themselves?

The answer, of course, is that the rules were familiar, and familiarity breeds conformism. As Robertson found, protests against convention can invite ridicule, particularly from the medical profession. We also need to remind ourselves of innumerable other examples of social practices that were considered humane for considerable periods of time, but that now fill us with horror—including slavery, workhouses, and large mental asylums in remote rural locations.

Which brings us, somewhat uncomfortably, to the question of whether there are any current practices that doctors now accept with complacency, but ought to regard as similarly grotesque. My own nomination for such a practice would be the ward round."

One of the sacred cows of medicine we should consider sacrificing ?

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