The motto of Guy’s Hospital near London Bridge is Dare Quam Accipere – It is Better to Give than to Receive. At a future date I might get around to explaining how Guy’s, and that motto, came about, but right now I want to talk about how, the other day, I had the chance to put the motto into sort of practice at another hospital in the trust – St Thomas’.
I was discharged from Tommy’s a while back. It started with my broken wrist, and the wonderful folk in A&E; post surgery, I met the equally wonderful team at the fracture clinic; when they were done with me, I moved on to hand therapy.
My wrist continues to improve, though the cold weather, as the physiotherapist warned me, has brought new aches. Still, it’s an amazing outcome when you look at my x-rays.
So I wrote cards and bought fancy biscuits and headed back to the hospital. At A&E, I was hardly through the door before someone looked up and asked if they could help me. When I explained my mission and handed over card and biscuits, her stunned expression told me how rarely patients make that return journey to this department to thank the staff for their care at a critical moment.
It was a similar story in the fracture clinic. Hand therapy seemed more familiar with the idea, which made me reflect on how that was the only department of the three where I had an idea of when I would be discharged.
I left and walked onto Westminster Bridge filled with a warm fuzzy glow. On the bridge, I met these folk:
I’m an Amnesty supporter and have tweeted about this case before. If you want to know more, just check out @DrAlRoken or click here. He, and so many prisoners of conscience, are given hope, and sometimes their freedom, by non-political, non-aligned organisations such as AI. AI has taken up his case and is campaigning on his behalf.
So many have AI to thank for the restoration of their human rights, and I take my hat off to those like Dr al-Roken who have stood up for these rights in countries where such a stance is seen as subversive.
There always used to be an AI candle – the flame in barbed wire – in Westminster Abbey, and beside it details of a prisoner or group of prisoners of conscience the Abbey was remembering particularly in that week’s prayers.
Suddenly the candle and the details disappeared. I enquired, and was told that a new member of the clergy, presumably quite high up the chain, had judged the candle ‘inappropriate’. What a bizarre stance for a church to take; to decide that people imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs should not be remembered in prayers in a place of worship where the central figure of that religion is an outsider who espoused the poor and the dispossessed.
I shan’t be taking a card and biscuits to whoever made that decision.