BBC Scotland call for inquiry to put the science to one side
Herald calls for inquiry to put the science to one side

I’m still a parent. My wife is still a parent. Now they’re all big we’re a bit better, thank you.

We used to be parents of children. It’s not a healthy situation to be in. Deeply instinctive and protective, you will do anything, believe anything about any risk you perceive in their environment.

Given the power to do so, some less-educated, would string up paediatricians if told there was one living nearby, as they hunt for their missing child.

The parents of children who die will seek vengeance. If their child dies in hospital then something went wrong that could have been prevented and blame must be applied somewhere. Otherwise, they may have to confront the awful possibility of a physical weakness in their child, a vulnerability, which they have passed on to them. That cannot be allowed.

Though that death is a tiny statistical exception to the experience of thousands of other children over years and years in that hospital and where an infection may only have played a ‘contributory‘ indeterminate part, even though medics work in a world where billions of bacteria and viruses, most undetectable and irresistible, swirl around them and their patients, that one, which may have played a part in one child’s death, their child, should have been prevented and a price must be paid.

Enter a politician and/or a legal type and, of course, a journalist, and suddenly, the parent maddened by grief once more by their words, is empowered.

For more than a year now, we’ve seen these reports of the death of a single child, sometimes two or three, associated with infections in Scottish hospitals.

Statistically, they have all been the kind of phenomena ignored in England where they have hospitals, in East Kent and Shropshire for example, associated with multiple deaths and clear evidence of malpractice.

Scientifically, they have all been inspected by professionals neither grief-stricken nor drawn by the smell of blood or money. The reports have found no cause for the damnation of anyone or of any department based on evidence of malpractice.

But, because the parents, their grief still stoked by politicians, lawyers and journalists, remain unconvinced, as maybe I would have too were it my child, those reports based on reason above emotion cannot be allowed to stand, cannot be the end, because they do not fit the story the parents, the opposition politicians, the lawyers and the journalists need, to be content, in their worlds, saturated with those all-too-human notions of tragedy, failure and retribution.

And so, we see a trumpet call for the public inquiry to satisfy those emotional needs and presumably, though not openly of course, put them before the science. The mob must have blood.

The parents are not to blame for doing what parents do, but the others should be ashamed.