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The Hunt is on as Dentist returns to work

11 September 2015

The Hunt is on as Dentist returns to work

Hello readers and welcome to this week’s newsletter! Going out on a limb here, I think it safe to say that most of you weren’t heckled on your way into your practice or your office. And to be fair it doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to start your day.

The dental profession is used to certain accusations levelled against them: mainly centred around the fact that some dental treatment can be painful. But if you don’t brush twice daily, don’t floss and drink sugary drinks all day then what can kind of state do you think your teet…. Apologies. I digress.

One member of the dental profession was forced to sprint into his office this week, faced with TV cameramen, reporters, and several angry people brandishing signs and shouting “murderer”.  No wonder he’d taken some time off! In his absence, his staff faced the same abuse and he couldn’t sit aside any longer. He had to go back.

“I need to get back to my staff and my patients, and they want me back,” he said. “That’s why I’m back. I have a lot of staff members, and I’m a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives.”

Great to see a member of the dental profession take such pride in their practice and really care for their staff. And I actually don’t doubt that Walter Palmer does care for his patients and staff. It’s such a shame he indulges such a dreadful, appalling pastime.

It’s fine for him to say these things now and bemoan the effect it’s had on people around him but, as a certain regulatory committee might put it. “He’s not shown sufficient insight into his failings.”

There’s plenty about this story to be angry about – the blanket coverage, the social media vitriol, the emphasis that it was a “dentist wot dun it” (if a car salesman had killed the lion do you think every single headline would have borne his job title in it?), and the fact that a living thing got killed for pure enjoyment, but if Palmer thinks that expressing mild regret that he “took this lion” (they’re his words) will make it all go away, then he may be sorely wrong.

He may not have to face legal proceedings, but his trial has come and gone. He’s been found guilty. And no amount of armed guards and smiling patients will change that. The distinct impression is that he’ll probably go hunting again and just make sure he doesn’t kill anything famous next time.

But it would be no surprise if the pressure on him remains a constant for the foreseeable future. His patients and staff may need him but his actions have caused them to suffer. He said that he was disappointed at the “humanity” shown by internet trolls. If he’d shown a bit of that himself beforehand, he may not be in such a situation. The internet flipped the Hunter-Hunted paradigm on its head.

The Hunt is truly on, but this time Walter Palmer’s not the one doing the hunting.

Any thoughts on this emotive issue? Feel free to comment below or send your thoughts to editor@healthcare-learning.com. Until next time…

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