A sad but cautionary tale.

Recently a report in the Daily Mail caught my attention. The account was about the death of a gentleman who had attended a clinic for treatment for backache. The gentleman, in his 80th year was reported to have been generally fit and active.

‘He lost consciousness and appeared to be paralysed from the waist down during treatment.’  

His wife was in the clinic with her husband and witnessed the incident.  Despite every effort to save the gentleman’s life, he died at the local hospital the next day as the result of ‘a traumatic spinal cord injury.’  The police have launched a criminal investigation to establish whether criminal negligence was a factor in his death. The investigation is ongoing. The practitioner was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

I have to emphasise here that the practitioner was not a Bowen Therapist.

Regardless of this fact, lives have been irrevocably changed. The detail provided in the report is superficial and conclusions should not be prematurely reached without full knowledge of the facts.  A responsibility I would not wish to have.

A sobering thought for myself was ‘what if?’ What if that had happened to me? What would I do? What did I not do? From a professional standpoint, I would be asking about skill maintenance and individual support. In addition, I am now thinking about what support I would get from my professional organisation if it had been me involved. Thankfully I am part of a professional organisation, the BTPA, that does provide support and, I believe, would support colleagues in extremis.

As this very sad story conveys, we do not know what the future holds. Be mindful of your knowledge and expertise. A sobering reminder to approach your clinical practice with ‘fresh eyes’.

Linda Birnie MSc, Cert ECBS, MCNHC, MBTPA

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