“Good Caring” Shouts Echo in My Ears, and It Was a Lie

Dr. Patricia Farrell
4 min readSep 17

In the interest of meeting management guidelines in a psychiatric hospital, staff were required to attend a week of “caring” sessions that were essentially an empty gesture.

Photo by Fernando @cferdophotography on Unsplash

Ongoing staff training is mandated at many healthcare facilities and for professional licenses. Although this appears to be a beneficial program, many times, it's just window dressing for paper purposes. After those “caring” sessions, what happens is a world apart from the good intentions flouted there. I should say that the program to which I was sent was developed by a former housekeeper who convinced hospital administrators that he knew what he was doing, and he sold the program to several psychiatric hospitals.

How much caring is expressed at a hospital where the CEO plays basketball with staff who earn their promotions by beating him at the game? And then, of course, there was the matter of that top guy using cocaine he bought from staff.

Or how about the psychiatrist who talked to the trees and drove a car that had been in so many accidents, as he drove drunk, that it barely held its fenders on? Then, of course, there was the other psychiatrist who dipped into her prescription pad and doled out addictive medications for herself to the point that she tried to use her office wastepaper basket as a toilet.

Driving drunk one evening with her kids in the car, she was stopped and ticketed but allowed to return to her housing at the hospital. A day or so later, after a staff member reported her, she was led out of the hospital in handcuffs. I don’t know what happened after that.

One sure way for a woman to get a management job at the hospital was to have a sexual relationship with an administrator. And so a woman with barely a GED became an administrator and began mandating bubble gum pink walls in one unit to quiet the patients down. Those particular patients were locked in a large basement room all day, where they walked in circles around the walls. How was that good caring?

Then we had the caring housekeeper who was found to have raped a woman with retardation. The hospital personnel at that time chipped in to send his daughter for special brain surgery. He was arrested, but I don’t know the outcome.

Dr. Patricia Farrell

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, consultant, author, interested in flash fiction writing (http://bitly.ws/S94e), and health.