The blue light

I’d have to agree with JD that the definitive piece on the Kate nurse tragedy was by Martin Kelly, so much so that I deleted my own from the schedule.   Below is how it opens – you might like to read the rest over there.

“Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague” – John Lofthouse.

Next time any of you are driving westbound along the M8 motorway at night, near the Townhead interchange, keep an eye out for a five storey building on the left hand side of the road from which will be shining only one blue light. That blue light will be shining from the westmost window on the third floor.

That building is the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, and the shining of the blue light means that its neonatal intensive care unit is, thank God, in all His infinite goodness and mercy, still open for business. If any readers of this blog are men living in Glasgow who wish to become fathers but have not yet done so, take it from me that it is the one room in this city you should not ever wish to enter. To have to do so means that you are living a nightmare, the most horrible experience of your life.

The only consolation of having to do so will be receiving the very great privilege of not merely seeing but also interacting with the people who work there, masters of the rawest, edgiest form of medicine there is, the care of critically ill patients who are completely unable to communicate. These folks aren’t just doctors, nurses and midwives; you must need the nerves of astronauts to be able to do what they do.

I saw my son for the first time in that blue-lit room, at a quarter to six in the morning, a perfect little human being covered in sensors and wires, his mouth visibly the same shape as his mother’s; and to my shame I still do not know the name of the surgeon who delivered him, that Indian maestro who saved both his and his mother’s lives.

What sort of person makes a ‘prank’ call to a hospital at half past five in the morning?

Read on here

10 comments for “The blue light

  1. Amfortas
    December 12, 2012 at 06:45

    Beautifully written. Restrained, yet right on point.

    The two merry japers were on TV last night; He was glum, she weeping. For herself.

    THAT sort of people.

  2. haiku
    December 12, 2012 at 08:38

    Beautifully said …

    I – for one – have no sympathy for the miscreants: their initial boasts belie their subsequent tears.

    And the statements of their bosses (“we tried to get permission to broadcast, but failed, so we went ahead anyway”) give clear indication that management – disclaimers to the contrary – endorsed the “prank”.

    One can but hope that all involved will be severely sanctioned, to the extent that it will give broadcasters considering a similar “prank” pause to think ..

  3. December 12, 2012 at 10:47

    Yes it is a good post – brings out the casual, self-centred and unfeeling silliness we see far to often in what passes for entertainment.

  4. JD
    December 12, 2012 at 13:00

    The late Michael Bentine said that practical jokes are born out of malice and there is no excuse for them. Malice is the only reason these things are perpetrated.

    Haiku:-One can but hope that all involved will be severely sanctioned, to the extent that it will give broadcasters considering a similar “prank” pause to think ..

    One would hope so but……….
    This is not the first time – Noel Edmonds also has blood on his hands after a man died during one of his ‘stunt/prank’ TV shows.
    Did he and the broadcasters learn from that?
    Apparently not.

  5. haiku
    December 12, 2012 at 14:31

    >> Did he and the broadcasters learn from that?
    >> Apparently not.

    Very true: the prank calls continue unabated.

    [In my case] this type of behaviour is having an unfortunate effect: it makes obvious the fact that self-regulation of the press simply isn’t working.

    Which leads, inexorably, to the following: maybe it is time for the creation of a body to regulate the press ?

    Personally I would prefer not.

    However, if the existing bodies are unable to enforce the simple rule that one must accept the responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, then it time to replace the existing bodies.

  6. james wilson
    December 12, 2012 at 18:33

    I have linked to this story only twice, there being plenty of Thomas J. Crapper for me to barricade myself against in the US. But I looked it over today for a minute or two, literally, and smell a great stink, a great democratic pile of it hiding behind the narrative that two two lightweights, whose ambition is to amuse people who wish to be amused, are the cause of this woman’s death. It’s not that there is more to this story than meets the eye, but that it never should have gotten past the nose.

    Yes, let us by all means hand the state more power to regulate speech after they have demonstrated so thoroughly who is the best judge of what you may say and hear.

  7. December 12, 2012 at 18:52

    And that’s the bottom line all along here – that it’s to give further justification to Leveson.

    Her family say she was not suicidal at all and that she was a strong character, plus that they did not overly discuss being taken in.

    So what killed her then? There’s a path I don’t wish to go down here.

  8. james wilson
    December 12, 2012 at 22:13

    Yes, well I would have no idea what that path is, certainly. But I know when I’m being led down the garden path. It seems to be an easier task to mislead people collectively than individually.

  9. haiku
    December 13, 2012 at 07:23

    I, for one, have absolutely no desire for censorship in any form: I have long argued (i.e. no fisticuffs) for freedom of speech.

    OTOH, if that free speech is defamatory i.e. is not the truth and thereby impugns my character, I should be entitled to complain and receive a fair hearing.

    Unfortunately the self-regulating bodies (e.g. the press, the legal system, the medical profession) tend – as a professional courtesy – to sympathise with their members (“the defendant could be sitting in judgement on me next week”), so most punishments handed down are derisory at best.

    And that is where self-regulation fails – miserably.

    Fuelling the flames: I also believe that the press / TV / etc. should not be allowed to use a “no malice” defence …

  10. Amfortas
    December 13, 2012 at 08:09

    I am in agreement, Haiku, as to the freedom of speech.

    We have to accept some ‘fuzzy’ in the human being bizzo. There will always be dullards and malicious buggers but regulating everyone due to the stupidity of the few is a lefty, totalitarian way.

    Civilisation depends largely on maturity and reasonable manners. Rules and laws and ‘tribunals’ are not going to solve the issue of failure to maintain a ‘niceness’ standard. Far too many of the sort of people who would be uncivilised will, as we see every day, make false allegation of ‘offence’ and false claim to ‘truama’. Maybe that is the area that needs a focus.

    There used to be a place in that ‘fuzzy’ for hypocricy and turning blind eyes, but even they are scorned these days.

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