The Importance of Communication

Events of the last few weeks have reinforced the importance of good communication. It doesn’t matter a hill of beans if your actions are right, if no one understands them.

Like everyone else, I feel so saddened to hear the news about Charlie Gard, the baby whose doctors refused to allow experimental treatment in the US.

Five years ago, our six week old son was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital with a stomach condition that left him unable to feed and seriously weak. We were lucky. He had an operation that reversed his condition and he now lives a completely normal life.

As this is a professional blog, I won’t dwell on the anguish that we suffered at the time, but feel it’s important to share this story at last, as it has reminded me so much of challenges faced by Charlie Gard’s parents, pitted against such an influential and important London hospital.

Whilst GOSH did a terrific job of fixing our son (and thank goodness they are so brilliant), their communication with us as his parents was horribly vague. Our son’s operation was delayed and we hardly ever saw a doctor.

In this situation, it’s very tempting to look elsewhere for support.

I’ve never written about this before as I feared that spreading any negative feedback about this incredible British institution might jeopardise funding for the research and care that GOSH provides. My message is… GOSH please look at your communication strategy with parents. Explain why your decisions are right, ensure your staff are well trained in communication, regardless of how senior their clinical expertise. As in business, communication is just as important as the decisions you actually make.

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One Response to The Importance of Communication

  1. My other half is a doctor. Half her job is communication and interpersonal skills, eg when to give bad news and how to do it. Let’s hope that GOSH has learnt lessons from this very sad episode.

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