Thursday, July 17, 2008

Okay Now I Feel Bad

So...maybe you popped over to White Coat recently and read his post on the tragic death in a NY waiting room. It's an excellent post and I must admit feeling fairly shaken when I initially watched the video of Esmin Green hitting the floor and no one doing anything about it.

Now I feel bad about my Dying Swan post as Waittimes linked to it (which was flattering I must admit) but he mentioned the Green case and I felt compelled to leave a long rambling comment on his site to redeem my not-completely-heartless-health-care-practitioner-self.

I don't want to come across as someone who doesn't give a damn about my patients. Because actually, I do. Too much of a damn sometimes. And although I enjoy the twisted black humor of critical care, and get a chuckle out of health care related rants, that is not fundamentally what I am about.

It makes me cringe sometimes when I read comments/postings on some of the med blogs out there. One comment that will forever stand out in my mind was by a certain well circulated medblogger who referred to the drug addicts she brings to the hospital as "pieces of shit".

I think people with that mentality should not be allowed to practice. You cannot tell me that someone with that mindset gives the highest standard of care/compassion to their patients. Which is what people deserve.

We are so quick to judge others (and I am not immune obviously) but it is this apparent holier-than-though-superiority complex that sometimes makes me want to peel potatoes in the back room of a kitchen for a living.

Because at the heart of it (double entendre intended) we are servants. And I don't mean that in a demeaning way. We serve the sick. It is a wonderfully uplifting task at its essence, if you ask me. But sometimes that gets lost in the stress, the impatient patients, the putrid odors, the dirty work, the lack of compliance, the lack of co-worker support, the egos, the workload...I could go on.

So yes, humor is an excellent way to process things, and I hope that my slant on situations and events are not seen as crass or unfeeling. Sometimes I suppose I just want to be a jackass. But for the most part I am happy to be at their service.


Rogue Medic said...

It is a well written post.

Your patient and Esmin Green have nothing in common, except for being on the floor. Which is like saying that a paper airplane and a passenger plane have a lot in common, because they are both planes.

Did you kick her in the side? Did you not provide IV fluids for dehydration prophylaxis? You might even have given her some antiemetic and antidiarrheal medication. Clearly, you are cruel to patients.

Albinoblackbear said...


Thanks Rogue.