My Apology To The Patient With ME I Treated Many Years Ago




By Annemarie McCall in The Mighty.


I was a psychiatric nurse before I developed ME. I was a good nurse and treated my patients holistically and with dignity, taking their wishes into consideration and trying at every turn to follow their wishes as much as I could, legally, ethically and professionally, but I have an apology to make.

One day we received a patient who was experiencing psychosis. Being forewarned, we dug out their file (as they were previously known to us) and began our study. A few months before this impending admission to our ward, they had been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis. Out came the medical text books, questions were asked around the nursing station of anyone who knew anything about ME and consultants were grilled.


I had a slight knowledge of ME as my cousin had it, but to be honest, although I thought it was terrible, I had not paid much attention to his onset and subsequent care needs. It was just something he “had.” As I was deemed the most knowledgeable, I was assigned as named nurse for this patient. Our psychiatric consultants couldn’t give us any real answers as to what ME was, the textbooks hardly mentioned it at all and my colleagues were more in the dark than I was. This was in the days when it was referred to as “yuppie flu” or “lazy-itis” and Google was not what it is today.


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