Unintended consequences, good intentions, and dead greenfinches (Warning – Dead Bird Photos)

So this is something I posted on my other blog. During what was a busy day it sometimes came to me that there are parallels between this story and what can happen in medicine, and healthcare generally. I would like to think I am helping people and doing what I can to practice safely. And I imagine that, if such were possible, the greenfinches would have given me pretty good feedback… but in the end, rather than helping them live, I killed them.

It made me think particularly of polypharmacy and the need to consider the overall system you are intervening in when you are suggesting or making even the smallest change in a patients life.

Séamus Sweeney

I have used this blog as a sort of journal of various observations on bird feeding.  Unfortunately, and humblingly, I have realised that my bird feeding activity has in fact been doing the precise opposite of what I hoped. Killing, not preserving life.

I was familiar with Trichomonas infections– an condition which especially effects greenfinches – and had washed and even replaced my feeders fairly regularly, I had thought  (but far from regularly enough)

A few weeks ago I saw some definite cat / hawk kills in the garden with evident wounds.   There were also a couple of less evidently predator related deaths. Foolishly I put these down to cat activity also, based on dim memories of cats killing birds but not eating them. I also wondered if there was some dehydration going on given recent hot weather and redoubled putting out water.

I had noticed also that…

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