Monday, 27 July 2009

NHS Choices

Cerebral palsy

Why do I find this video so extraordinarily irritating?


  1. Andrew, you asked:
    "Why do I find this video so extraordinarily irritating?"

    Perhaps you will find the answer below.

    Perhaps first of all because of the soppy, sad feeling-sorrow-for-someone voice. And how unsure she sounded and unconvinced about what she was saying: no conviction at all. I wouldn't be convinced either if, as a doctor, I was asked to say all of that.

    Maybe also because you might possibly believe, as I do, that a neurologist should be in the position to say that cerebral palsy CAN often be seen at birth, when testing the reflexes of a baby or when observing spontaneous posture.

    Maybe also because she said that the majority of people with cerebral palsy go on to live an independent life. I wouldn't like to disagree here as I have no numbers but I doubt that this is true

    Perhaps also because she did not say a word about the social/psychological problems that the inability to move arms and legs properly as a child develops will bring with it.

    Maybe because she was offering lots of HELP. She used the word a lot at one point, but did not mention showing children how to help themselves.

    She said that the botulin relaxes the muscles but did not say that it is poison and that it works only for a couple of months. And she also omitted to say that if you inject it you then have to work incredibly hard if you want to see any long-term results.

    She mentions "improving problems"... isn't that a bit like a double negative? Shouldn't the word be "solving".

    It irritated me above all because she was so melancholic about the whole thing. That won't HELP any one, especially not the parents.

  2. Thanks, Susie. That just about covers it for me as far as specifics go.

    What got me was the overall air of therapeutic nihilism. Yes, of course, this is to no small degree a realistic statement of what 'therapy' can do but, if that's the case, why isn't the NHS Direct looking to offer parents the escape route of informing them that there is a different possibility for optimism, pedgogic optimism.

    If the NHS (and by extension the wider medical establishment) has recognised that the game is up over 'cerebral palsy' as a medical condition, rather than as a developmental disorder, why keep hogging it to itself?

    Why not take the next logical, ethical and decent step and join the hunt for ways of enhancing learning and living, pedagogic and social measures of the sort to be expected as a matter of course by children with other kinds of developmental disorder and their parents?

    Why not make a start by taking an intelligent interest in what is already being done in this respect?

    Dr Lucinda Carr is no backwoodswoman of the sort that many parents might meet. On the contrary, she is a consultant paediatric neurologist at the world-fanous Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, a bright lady speaking from a long way up her professional tree.

    No wonder she looks and sounds so embarrassed. She probably is.