Sunday, August 05, 2007

And You Thought You Were Having a Crappy Day

In that wild and crazy idealistic mind of mine, I would like to think that my job is about helping others. Sometimes though, it seems to take a drastic turn towards meeting someone's demands, rather than practicing any actual medicine.

Here's a story one of my co-workers told me about a horrific experience in which one of her patients workups suddenly went "crappy" the other night:

A male in his mid-forties presented to the ER with chest pain. He had several risk factors for heart disease, so he got the workup: chest x-ray, EKG, bloodwork, aspirin, nitroglycerin, oxygen, and maybe even some morphine for his pain. Midway through his workup, the patient decided that he wanted to leave, that there were better things that he could be doing with his time.

Unfortunately, the man had an IV site in his arm, so he had to be stopped before he hit the door as sending someone out with an IV site in place can lead to all sorts of headaches from providing them with easy access with which to deliver their "unprescribed meds" to infection, bleeding, or damage to the actual blood vessel. Not a good idea.

So the gentleman was stopped and escorted back to his room. In the meantime, another well-intending, but often clueless coworker of mine decided to have a heart-to-heart talk with the guy and convince him to stay. Getting him to stay consisted of fetching him a turkey sandwich . Fine. Whatever.

So the guy stays and waits for his labs to come back, all the while glaring at the nursing staff and demanding them to wait on him repeatedly. Finally, in spite of all the catering to his wants, he gets up and walks out the door... but not before defecating on the floor.

There's nothing that frustrates me more than dealing with rude people like that. Most people are fairly rational, and I think understanding when it takes time for their workup to get done or even when they get pushed back in the line a little bit when something more serious comes in. However, there's always those few demanding individuals that want everything done for their own convenience that cause the most problems.

Sometimes I think that the line between us and animals is very fine, if it exists at all. It's too bad he didn't make it out the door the first time, as a lot less time and effort would have been wasted.


ru said...

i guess i've never had a day quite that crappy

ru said...

saw Denise's mom today; she said hi