Sunday, 17 January 2010

Misogyny in the Medical Profession.

Through the course of my blogs I want to look at why, where and how, different people and different groups become victim to others. It is important for me to understand the reasons for this victimisation as well as drawing the eye to instances of abuse that are concealed from our day to day knowledge. Today I am going to go straight into a case of out-and-out misogyny, many instances of which can be found in medical practice today and where the affects of medical malpractice are largely concealed.

My mother went to her G.P. in the mid 1970s, when she was in her middle forties, with abdominal symptoms. The doctor prescribed something for it and she came away and started taking the drug as prescribed. She did not question what the drug was, nor did she seek a diagnosis.In those days you just trusted your doctor and did what you were told to do. My mum was a happy, active person with a nice job,she had had no previous history of psychological problems at all, not even a squeak, but the drug that this doctor gave her was Valium. She went to him with physical health symptoms, no anxiety, no depression, and yet she was given a psychiatric drug without her knowledge. Well, of course, some doctors are misogynists, it`s a fact of life: They see a middle aged women complaining of abdominal problems and they think, "this is just a neurotic female", but as to why they do this and how they are able to pursue these beliefs within their profession as doctors, we shall come back to examine in a subsequent blog.

This abuse of my mother by this G.P. caused a catastrophe of desperate and tragic proportions. My mother began to suffer a devastating reaction to valium ..and remember she did not even know that she was taking a psychiatric drug.....and she became a terrified, almost catatonic wreck. When it was obvious that valium had made her very ill, the G.P became nasty, the only way that he could off-load his guilt was to be nasty to us. My mother`s life, now destroyed, was horrendous. My sister and I had no mother, in fact, and the medics really didn`t know what to do. The best that they could come up with was ECT. So a lovely, happy mum, duped into taking a psychiatric drug by an abusive doctor, ended up having repeated ECT. She came out of this a virtual zombie with huge areas of memory loss and really hardly a person at all. The suffering caused to her and to us was fantastic. Days of endless agony with no hope and a sort of grief for a mother that had gone away somewhere into mental illness, never wholly to return. And the pain of knowing that she had been the victim of a male doctor in this way was unbearable.

There was never an apology. Years later when she developed heart failure, it even came to light that she probably had a heart attack when having the ECT, but nobody noticed. They didn`t even notice.

So we have to understand WHY this kind of thing happens....Let`s think of it as our mission to find out, so that we can know why some people hurt others and how they come to square it with their own conscience and with the people around them. In my next blog I want to try to examine why women become victims and why there can be professional abuse of women that is largely unchecked.

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