The hidden story


I would like to share with you an experience from one of our final year medical students, Molly Bond.

Molly has been with our group for over an year now and has been shadowing the clinical team for this time. At the end of her attachment she wrote for the medical school a reflective piece about her experience.

I’d like to share a portion of this with you. Her observations are insightful and raise some interesting questions about patients and clinical trials.

Here is Molly’s reflection:


We rely on others to provide a “social reality” – to help us determine what to think, feel, and do (Hardin & Higgins, 1996).

Reading her piece reminded me of why I spend time showing others what it’s all about.

If you are still wandering what it’s all about – it is about you the patient.

About the author

Neuro Doc Gnanapavan


  • I wish Molly well in her final year.

    The gap between the expectations of the patient and what treatments can currently be offered (for progressive MS) is still too wide. Slowing down the accumulation of disability by such small amounts just prolongs the suffering.

    I hope that, if Molly chooses neurology as her specialism, she will she a day when she can say to a patient with MS “we can offer you a handful of therapies which can stop your MS in its tracks and see you recover some function”. For too long neurologists have been outliers – giving patients a diagnosis without any hope (MND, Huntington’s….). A change is needed for the grimmest diseases – it’s been too long.

  • Thanks NGD- When I was doing my phd, I got some very interesting reactions when I disclosed my ms to fellow phd students who were researching ms. I think the generic impact statement of ‘biggest cause of disability in young people’ often seen in the opening paragraph of papers set expectations about how we are and what we can do. A 10 minute colleague/patient to colleague/researcher chat about the limitations of treatments, access to treatments, and access to services, gave useful insight and perhaps altered the epistemological basis for their research going forward.

    • I agree, it is not a great line to read especially when you’re newly diagnosed. Everyone is different but that’s where the doctors, nurses, colleagues, loved ones and friends that you speak to also matter.

  • Very thoughtful and compassionate reflections, thank you for posting, NDG and thank you Molly for choosing this area of research…good luck for the future 🙂

  • Hi Doc Gnanpavan, so nice to read a positive message, especially at the moment, and I wish Molly and all medical student, the best of luck and from a patient, I really appreciate your chosen vocation too. Neurology is the best – so I hope you will carry on in this sector. The plight of all Countries, again, at the moment is hanging on to their staff & ensuring that the vacancies are filled with passionate, empathetic and extremely clever Doctors/Nurses and medical professionals. This has to be huge part of how we encourage students to take up a medical profession, from schools, colleges and governments in supporting medical students to gain their qualifications and to give back to their communities. I know in the UK & lots of other Countries – the gap to encourage & discuss the opportunities to go in to a medical profession starts (most of the time) at school. I worked in a large modern comprehensive with a sixth form college – most the students decided not to take medicine or sciences because they were put off by the long hours, lack of funds, with the long studying & the cost of going to Uni too! Just saying my daughter is at Uni and her rental fee for 1 bed in London is £950.00 per month – her maintenance loan doesn’t cover the rent and she has her Mum & Dad supporting the difference & her food and general living costs! I know there are lots of ways to qualify for more maintenance (based on household income) but hopefully you get my point! Students also felt they would like to go in to IT or anything to do with film and media! You can’t force someone, I know – but we’ve got to make the career paths better for students in healthcare and not to be frightened off by the choice and all those dreaded patients 🙂 Patient advocacy & listening to how difficult it is for us most of the time, once more, at the moment :0) But to understand, give time and realise that we are all trying to get along and a friendly relationship with your HCP is so very important. It can make both parties feel confident that the way forward with MS & its dreadful symptoms, difficulties, cognition problems, etc – can be supported & understood.

    All the best and I’m glad to hear that we aren’t all being overly angry and abusive, as the media would like you all to believe. We need facts & talking, time and listening is where it all starts… xxx

    • This is the crux of it when I started as a junior doctor, I worked very hard (their was the dreaded 24h weekend on-call to look forward to!), but I had the support and my seniors had the resources that they needed. Now their is no continuity, we’re told to work more in less hours, and deal with complaints (largely administrative errors). Seeing this discourages future young sparks of going into medicine and makes it a speciality for those who can afford it. I try to encourage as those that come by my doorstep, but they do have to actively seek me out as I’m always on the move. I enjoy it so I do make the time when I can 🙂

  • I’m another who has enjoyed this read and wish to say thanks NGD for sharing it.
    Hope I’m not vulnerable to being shot down in flames for this, but feel compelled to say WOMEN: as PROFG has highlighted before there needs to be more female neurologists.
    Also more female representatives in all areas. I was struck by ProfG being invited, alongside another male neurologist by the male CEO of the MS Trust to the Parliamentary round table meeting on MS. This is not an attempt to discredit the incredibly valuable role/contributions made by men – such as ProfG and MD.
    Nor to ignore the valid experiences of men with MS.
    Rather it’s about the legitimate need for some levelling up, especially when taking account of the fact that women are more vulnerable to developing this disease. The John Hopkins medical site almost screams with the words: ‘according to the National Multiple Sclerosis four times as many women have MS as men and more women are developing it’
    Here in the UK govt data for 2018 stated that it’s double in women, with ‘272 females per 100,000 population to 106 for males.’
    So in short there’s an urgent need for more women and for those such as Molly to choose to work in neurology and possibly specialise in MS.
    However, whatever area Molly does choose to work in, it is abundantly evident that she will, as others have said in their replies, benefit those she works with via the combination of her scientific mind with the empathy and awareness of patients she shows!
    All the very best to her for the future.

  • Nice read. Please wish Molly well. I do hope she becomes a neurologist as it is nice to see that degree of perceptiveness in someone. An ideal characteristic I believe.

    I am v fortunate to not use a wheelchair. Those I know that do do not like the concept that they are bound to it. Rather, they see their chair as a tool for enablement and not an item of confinement. I don’t have a dog in this fight, just mentioning it as I was put right on this topic pretty recently when I said it in an interview with Nicola Griffith.



  • This is a good example of a great student of medical philosophy, who understands the importance of two of the three main qualities of being humane: compassion and knowledge (the third being tolerance). It is really awesome to see this woman’s thoughtful understanding of what she is dealing with in dealing with the people who try to cope with this disease every day. I wish her all the best in her educational and professional journey.



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