Learning, always learning

April 27, 2013

Like most things worth doing, assessing people and writing reports can never be perfect and I am always learning, not that I’m happy about it. I was in court last week about a matter to do with bullying. I had seen this person four times and written four reports. Generally when I write a review report, having seen someone previously, what I’m interested in is what has happened since I last saw them regarding symptoms, treatment, work, relationships and so forth and of course also taking account of extra reports provided and commenting on them. I had done just that and (always a mistake) was feeling a little smug. When I was being cross-examined I realised that my first report although very comprehensive had no real details about particular instances of bullying. As the barrister said “you’ve just made general comments about the bullying haven’t you doctor, we have no idea whether it was at the very mild or at the very severe end of the spectrum? I was kicking myself for not having closely re-read my first report when I saw her subsequently because it was clearly a glaring omission. After the necessary blow to my ego I then decided, as all I always do if I have not done well in court, to make sure that in future I read the initial report closely with regard to the incident or incidents to make sure it was clear in my mind because if it is not clear in my mind how can be clear in anybody else’s mind. Another day, another lesson.


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