The old person whisperer
The geriatrician behind the Bristol Stool Tart
I think I’m slightly odd because I’ve always wanted to be a geriatrician—ever since my first geriatrics placement. I’m a bit of a fighter of lost causes—I was always on demonstrations at medical school and tend to support the underdog. I had travelled to Thailand and seen how well older people were treated there. Coming back to the UK I saw with new eyes how poorly we treat that generation here. Geriatrics seemed a way of addressing that.
Old people just aren’t valued in our society and that translates to the hospital hierarchy. Some people regard geriatricians as glorified social workers. We tend to be interested in compassionate medicine, but it can distract from the fact that geriatrics is a complex, interesting medical specialty. What do you do when you’re bottom of the hierarchy? I haven’t figured that out yet. Just the stigma of being old means that attitudes to