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Film Sheds Light On Impact Of Misdiagnosis On Vulnerable Patients

Chris Rushworth stars in film that shows the misdiagnosis of vulnerable patients

Nowadays, Chris Rushworth uses exercise as medication to deal with the traumatic experiences that he faced whilst navigating the healthcare system in England.

At the film premiere of ‘Chris’ Story: Getting Back To Me (The Unheard Impact Of Antipsychotics)’ during Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week, the audience were shown the inflexible medical system that prevented vulnerable patients from speaking out.

When Chris Rushworth was first admitted into hospital for alcoholism, he soon became misdiagnosed by doctors as a patient with schizophrenia when it wasn’t the case. This poor judgement led to Chris being sectioned three times under the Mental Health Act.  

The film, produced by Leeds Trinity University academics Ally Thornton and Alison Torn; Chris Rushworth (service user) and Dr Rufus May (clinical psychologist) illustrated the trials that caused Chris to be prevented from speaking out about the irreversible side effects of antipsychotic medication.

This misdiagnosis by his doctors and care takers led to adverse effects on both his mental and physical health and the path for corrective treatment exposed failures in the healthcare system in England.  This complaint was about the long-term neuroleptic medication causing him irreversible side effects, whereby medication such as chlorpromazine were used to treat him. One line which stood out from the film: “It was the worst drug that anyone would want to take.”

This caused him to have problems in expressing how he was feeling.

Speaking at Leeds Trinity University, Dr Rufus May believed that our “society is much more hierarchical than we realise.”

This can lead those from disadvantaged backgrounds being unable to advocate for themselves in medical settings and they need to be given the tools to navigate to what has been described as an ‘inflexible medical system’.

Dr Rufus May believed that there is fear of getting it wrong among clinicians and coroners. There is this feeling that it is better to diagnose with drugs rather than leave them alone to their own devices which in severe cases lead to suicide.

He continued: “People feel like they’re not given enough information, enough choice and support in decision-making.”

Chris Rushworth said: “The main thing I would like to point out, on looking back, regarding the professionals who gave me the medication. I was never told or warned about any long term or permanent damage.

“I was frightened to death.”

At the Q&A session, Chris hoped that the film would lead to honest conversations about mental health.

He said: “The main thing I do is listen to people who’ve been through similar experiences to me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say but I know what it feels like.”

Film producer, Ally Thornton shares her hopes for Chris’ Story.

What do you think?