Thursday, 6 March 2008

Nights and Death

I've on the end of my three day night stint, which has been difficult for me. This morning, one of my patients began to die. I think they were still on their way out when I left this morning.

At least, I think it was this morning. My body clock is all upside down. I woke up at 4pm yesterday and haven't been to sleep yet. And now I'm drinking. So forgive any ramblings.

The patient who died was old, with a list of comorbidities as long as my arm. And to be honest, I didn't much like the patient from a personal point of view. The idea that nurses are angels to everyone is either naive or stupid. So, this patient being removed from my life was not a huge, personal loss. The scenario surrounding his slip is what got to me more.

The patient was a step down from High Dependency Unit. I personally don't think this patient should've returned, but that's just me. Observations were at a sensible level and the patient hadn't been scoring any high factors on any of the vital sign fronts.

Then, he just slipped. So, my mentor beeps the on-call house officer. Nothing. Beeps again - nothing (like has happened earlier this week). Eventually, my mentor went over this HOs head and to a Registrar. Once that kick up the arse was applied, two hours later, she turned up with the Reg. By the time they'd farted around outside and had a looksee, it was far too late.

At the same time, my mentor was trying to get in touch with the next of kin of the patient. Not too easy at 5am, really. My mentor tried, and tried, and tried but could not. 'Best efforts' doesn't even cover it.

These two things - the inability to contact the next of kin and the sheer attitude problem possessed by the HO (who we later learned was sitting on the internet looking at wallpaper samples) upset my mentor and I tried to communicate how they had done everything humanly possible. But that's similar to what everyone else was saying, and it was not going to have an immediate effect. I just hope a few days off will improve their mood. And I hope the lazy fucking HO gets what's coming to her.

I'm not going to go on some tirade of how doctors are bastards. Generalisations don't work. But this particular human being needs some sorting out. Things could've turned out so different.

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