Post-traumatic stress disorder
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3790
Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. Although a selection of rapid responses will be included as edited readers' letters in the weekly print issue of the BMJ, their first appearance online means that they are published articles. If you need the url (web address) of an individual response, perhaps for citation purposes, simply click on the response headline and copy the url from the browser window.
Displaying 1-2 out of 2 published
For a moving and informative portrayal of PTSD find Werner Herzog's film 'Little Dieter Needs To Fly'. The biography depicts a German born, US fighter pilot, who was shot down in Vietnam, he survived in the jungle, and in a prison camp close to starvation, before escaping to a one in a million rescue by US forces.
Competing interests: None declared
Locum, PO Box 1193, Cheltenham, GL50 9UL
Click to like:
It is good to see recognition that this harm is sometimes caused by medical interventions. As a cancer patient I was subjected to an intrusive procedure without warning or consent. Since I was already raw inside and out, the event caused extreme pain, made worse by my attempts (clenched muscles) to prevent entry. Perhaps worse was the shock and trauma that a seemingly kindly, softly spoken clinician on whom I was totally dependent to 'save my life' should be doing this to me - while another doctor stood by grinning and he and a nurse did nothing to protect me. Nothing was said and no-one acknowledged that what took place was unacceptable.
I had years of playback, in every quiet moment re-living the pain and trauma - even speaking aloud as if trying to prevent it happening. The conflict between the former apparently caring attitude and such barbarity was enough to blow my mind. I discovered later that the clinical trial protocol by which I was treated (although I had not been told about this) allowed a 6-8 week delay before examination and assessment to allow the area to heal. I was given no time. And according to my medical notes no information was gained from the examination. I had suffered unnecessarily.
This experience had a greater impact on me than later when I was given no pain relief while the rectal muscle with 6 wires implanted (up to 6cm long and involving three quarters of the anal canal) went into repeated spasm for about three quarters of an hour.
Lack of acknowledgement of this harmful practice is what drove me to become a patient advocate and medical writer. I wrote in medical journals, gave presentations and one thing led to another. My book not only details the cumulative psychological effects of my experience, but provides discussion sections after each event, with references to good practice/evidence based practice, so can be useful in medical education.
Competing interests: Author, Nothing Personal, disturbing undercurrents in cancer care. Radcliffe Publishing.
user involvement at local and national level, York, North Yorkshire
Click to like: