Monthly Archives: October 2017

I’m not normal (and neither are you): a letter to an A&E Doctor after a difficult encounter.

This is an actual letter that I am about to send, six months on from an A&E visit that left me confused and distressed. For obvious reasons I’ve changed the names and removed the name of the hospital. I’m sharing it here because I hope it might help other HCPs to understand some of the peculiarities of patient behaviour. I’m sending a direct letter and not a complaint via PALS because I just want the doctor in question to think about it, I don’t feel I want to raise a complaint.

It has taken me a long time to mentally draft the letter. I don’t feel it’s useful to simply rip my own skin off and make myself even more vulnerable when raising a problem in healthcare – I need some forcefield of interpretation, and finally found one in the realisation that myself and the Doctor in question have never really met.


Dear John,

I was a patient treated by you in the Emergency Department of your hospital earlier this year.

By now you will have treated many hundreds more patients, and I have probably faded from memory; I wasn’t particularly sick, and the treatment I needed wasn’t particularly interesting.

Broadly, the care you gave me that day was good – which fits with the experiences I have of A&E at your hospital, it’s a place I usually feel safe and supported. Unfortunately the end of our interaction didn’t go very well, and I wanted to give you some feedback to reflect upon.

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