University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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"The Blame Game"

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"The Blame Game"

Angry Woman

It can make you mad when things go wrong

No one likes it when bad things happen. People ask, "What went wrong?" People ask, "Who is to blame?" "Blame" means saying, "That person did it."

Sometimes no one is to blame. There is no one to blame when there is no way anyone could have avoided this.

Chris had an abnormal bone growth inside his hip. No one could have prevented it. He got a pressure ulcer (which is what a doctor or nurse calls a pressure sore or bedsore). It wasn't Chris's fault.

You might get sick even if you follow all the rules from your doctor. That can make you mad. Even if you're mad, it's not fair to blame your doctor. It wouldn't be fair for your doctor to blame you. It wouldn't be fair for your doctor to think you didn't follow the rules. You both have to remember that sometimes, things just go wrong with health.

You have a good chance to avoid a pressure ulcer when you try your best. Doctors, caregivers and helpers try hard to help you. You or your doctor might make a choice that doesn't work out right. If you can find out what went wrong, that might help you get well and stay well. But don't use it as an excuse to blame someone and stay mad.

Sometimes things go really wrong.

Rushing in Wheelchair

Billy tried to race across the railroad tracks - it was a bad idea!

  • Rachel had a helper.
    • The helper put paper towel in Rachel's old diapers.
    • The helper should have changed the diapers.
    • Rachel got a very bad pressure ulcer.
  • Ken had a helper who took drugs, stole from him and quit with no notice.

These were really terrible things. If you get hurt because of bad actions like this, speak up for yourself. Tell someone who can help you:

  • Your doctor.
  • Your family and friends.
  • Your case worker.
  • The supervisor of the person who did something that hurt you.

People with spinal cord injuries might make a bad choice, too.

Surgeon Operating

Judy worked too hard. She needed surgery for a pressure ulcer

  • Billy raced his wheelchair to get over railroad tracks before the barrier came down.
    • Billy beat the train, but the gate hit him.
    • Billy lost a toe because of this.
  • Judy had a lot of things to do at her job.
    • Judy kept going to work when she had a pressure ulcer on her bottom.
    • The pressure ulcer got worse.
    • Judy had to have surgery.

A treatment that helps someone else might not work as well for you. Not everyone is the same! Ask your doctor if something else will work better for you.

There are times when you can't avoid a problem, no matter what you try. You might catch a cold in the winter, no matter what you try. You might have to accept that "stuff happens."

No one "wins" when you play "The Blame Game." Saying a pressure ulcer is someone's fault will not make it go away. Blaming others doesn't help you get well. Holding a grudge can waste your time and make you tired. Use your strength to get well! Taking care of your health is how you win "The Reality Game!"