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Unexpected Brilliance (Part two)

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 22/11/19 18:00

learn from failure part 2

We had the learning from failure conference last week and you can read part one here.

But the real showstopper was John Lewis.

I had never met John before nor heard of him, but John put forward a possible lecture called “death at the dentist”.

This was the story of a patient who suffered an anaphylactic shock reaction to chlorhexidine.

When I read the summary of this, I assumed that John was telling the story about someone else and something that had happened to someone else that he maybe knew or had heard of.

I was, if anything off hand and arrogant and glib while I introduced him in suggesting I had been looking forward to this all day. I had no idea what I was in store for or what the audience was in store.

10 years ago John’s VT rinsed a non-healing extraction socket with chlorhexidine.

The patient died, the patient suffered an anaphylactic shock in the chair and died 4 weeks later. John was interviewed on suspicion of manslaughter.

This was Johns story.

This was the first time John had spoken about this in public since it happened 10 years ago.

Can you imagine witnessing that?

Can you imagine the silence in the room, the tears in the room and the discussion afterwards.

It is no exaggeration that this is one of the bravest things that I have ever seen!

John had survived and even thrived but as he admitted in the questions afterwards there is hardly a day that goes by where he does not think about this.

He not only did everything right during the whole process and was suspected of manslaughter, but he completely protected his VT and took entire responsibility of his team, his staff, the dentists involved, everyone.

John took the brunt and faced the wrath.

He was pursued by an inspector, they were convinced he was in the wrong.

A year later in a coroner’s court, he was completely vindicated (as was his practice team) but how do you ever wipe away that experience, that trauma.

John has recovered and his practice is thriving, but it took him 9 years to tell his children.

Since that time John has become involved with a helpline for dentists which provides emotional first aid for dentists called Confidental helpline, the webpage is here and the phone number is 03339875158.

This is a 24hour helpline to give dentists who are suffering from stress and loneliness someone to talk to when things are really bad.

There are 16 people involved in this at the present time and they need more.

I think it should be me and I think it should be you.

What John said at the failure conference was not easy to listen to.

It was not entertainment, but it is a message that needs to be heard and should be heard and if you are a mover or a shaker who ever reads this, then you should get in touch with me so I can put you in touch with John.

I did a lecture at the BDA conference about the GDC in front of something like 1000 people some years ago.

The significance of that lecture entirely pails into insignificance compared to Johns.

John should be at a BDA conference in the main room telling this story.

It is a showstopper for all of the very best reasons!

Those of us who attended the learning from failure conference and for whatever reason managed to stay until the end were given a gift and were marked by that lecture that they heard.

It would be impossible to listen to that and not be changed and altered.

I think we’ll do it again.


Blog Post Number - 2194


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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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