More than saving face

The recovery made by Davinia Douglass following the 7/7 bombings 5 years ago (featured here in the Mail) is a testament to both her tenacity and plastic surgery. The appalling revelation however comes in her story of not having had any psychological support from the NHS. The Consultant who treated her said:

We’re not magicians, but we do what we can to get the best possible outcome for patients. Some people’s burns heal better than others. But even people who have almost no scarring at all can be very traumatised by the incident that cause the injury, and their families can be traumatised. The mental healing process can be incapacitating for some individuals, who withdraw from day-to-day society.’

Davinia is now campaigning for a dedicated psychologist to be attached to the burns unit at the hospital. Plato was on the same track when he said, “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated”. Davinia was lucky – not just because she survived and was healed – but because she had the strength of character to overcome the trauma. As the Consultant intimated, it could have been a very different story both physically and mentally, but not to provide mental health services at all after such an experience is a huge mistake. We are a poorer society in every way when we fail to treat body and mind together.

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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