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Why they dunnit

I am a great fan of TV detective series and one of the benefits of having access to the Freeview channels is that you can see reruns from a number of years back. Some of my favourites are Morse, Midsommer Murders, Miss Marples (as long as it's Joan Hicks) and Hercule Poirot with all the delicious art deco interiors.

Because I have seen them before, there is usually no mystery over “who dunnit” and so there is a much greater opportunity to ask “why they dunnit”. More often than not the reason for the crime is related to something that happened way back in the past. This was certainly the case in a recent Inspector Wexford episode where the events occurring in the present were all set in train by a murder that happened 30 years previously.

This set me thinking about really how little consideration we give to anything other than the immediate consequences of a particular action, when really we should be reflecting on the longer-term effects. This is of particular importance when we are dealing with patients. I remember one occasion when counselling a patient on their medication saying: “You won't have any problem taking the medicine as it really tastes quite nice,” only to be told: “Oh I don't suppose it will do me any good then, so maybe I won't take it.”

When I questioned her further it appeared that many years ago she had been told by another pharmacist that if the medicine didn't have a nasty taste, then it wouldn't be doing any good!

Do you have any similar examples of such “unintended future consequences” of something you have said?