I’m off to town to buy some syringes and some needles because today I went to give a sick calf an injection. My mum gives me a tin containing used syringes and needles. Many of them still have black gunk in them. “They’re clean!” She protests. My dad looks on in horror, shaking his head as I reject them one by one. “You spend too much money!” It is an interesting thought experiment.

If you want to put a fiscal spin on it, they want me to compromise a $500 animal to save seventy cents.

On the flip side they want me to risk death through sepsis upon a sentient being. Either way the logic doesn’t computeBut then again, what else do I not see for the want of looking? The cows are my buddies and I tell them so. 

“You are so beautiful” I say to them as I pass. I sing them a song and praise the cow for being a good mother. “Look at you licking your calf, and look at your calf, enjoying it SO MUCH!”


“Aren’t you good, you two month old steer, minding all the babies under the shade whilst their mums are out grazing! You are SO kind!” Mates?

The very next day I could be putting them on a truck to the abattoirs. In my arrogance I assume that the beast forgives me just as William Blake believes the cut worm forgives the plough. Would YOU, if you were the worm? Me? I’d be like: “What did you do THAT for? What did I ever do to YOU?” Likewise the patient, caused preventable harm, has every right to exclaim.... “What did you do THAT for? What did I ever do to YOU?”

Patient Safety. 

Reflective learning. 

Is it not important because it is not you who will perish?


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