Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I dont know why I am letting this affect me so much but for some reason it has.....

So it was another one of those crazy days. Exit ended around 7 and after that I had to do a procedure for a patient. Called my boss for assistance and he said he was on his way. While waiting for him, another patient's daughter (in the bed opposite to the one i was doing the procedure for) approached me and asked if her mum could eat (the patient had just came back after a procedure n i had to review her n give the go ahead before she could eat). Initially I told her to hang on for a while as I was in the midst of this pt's procedure (and waiting for boss to come) but subsequently decided to go have a quick peek at the other lady's procedure report n give the go ahead as she had been fasting since morning. HOwever, as i went to the other pt's bedside to quickly eyeball her n give her the go ahead for dinner, her daughter started asking about her condition. Just then, from the corner of my eyes, caught my boss walking in to the other pt's bedside for the procedure. Hence tried to give a quick summary of that pt's condition to her daughter n headed back to assist my boss.

After the procedure, i walked out with boss n sister of the ward walked up to me to ask if i had any problems with the daughter. I said no but she went on to explain that the daughter had expressed unhappiness over my replies to her n was clearly unhappy. Boss was there. I didnt get reprimanded but he just dropped some tips n went off.

I just stood there feeling absolutely drained for a while. But after that picked up the phone and called the daughter up (she had left the ward by then). She said she was upset n felt that I tried to brush her away and not answering properly about her condition. APologised profusely, answered her queries and at the end of it she said thanks for calling her back.

I guess, admittedly I did sound rushed as I was talking to her because I was trying to get back to the procedure left halfway. N in the first place, the reason why I deviated from the procedure for a while was because the other patient had fasted the whole day n i just wanted to tell her if she could eat or not. Didnt expect to be ambushed by the whole list of qns esp since i had explained more than half of them the day before when I spoke to her.

This kind of situation is not uncommon in the sense that a lot of times patients do complain about doctors due to misunderstandings. I've had patients complaining to me about fellow colleagues and even bosses and im sure many others had similar experiences. But today in particular i was very disturbed by it. By the time I settled talking to her n trying to diffuse the situation, it was too late n i couldnt get a medicine for my sister n something my mum wanted (as pharmacy had closed. ANd this is not the first time it's happening. MAny a times I do realise that I neglect my family, friends, meals, sleep and rest for my patients. N hence it does get upsetting when people forget about everything else that has been done n focus on that 1 thing that goes wrong. Itz just a very crappy feeling. N In the very first place, it was out of empathy for an old lady who was starving the whole day that I attended to her first.

Just read my friend's blog yesterday where he was talking abt how healthcare is not and should not be seen as a service industry where people come in and demand things to be done. N worse still come in n demand that nothing be done to them (why come in then in the first place?) I certainly agree with friend's comments. Trying to do a 'service providing' job + dealing with the patient's health at the same time can just simply bbe very draining. I do not deny that being on the flip side of the coin, one can have a lot of anxiety n concern about their relatives' condition, n it is that very concern n anxiety that sometimes transforms into anger.Afterall, I have been on the flip side of the coin as well.....

However, there are many times when i have wondered why patients n families dont look at us doctors as fellow human beings too - human beings with the same blood n flesh n emotions just as much as each n everyone of them do.....

N i have not gotten an ans to that as yet.....

3 comments:

CJ said...

getting accused by people whom you have given in the most at every opportunities feels like a betrayal isnt it? but then again we thinking processes are not displayed so these people dont really know we are actually making concessions to them at every opportunities. and many times they are too thick to have sensed that too. such is life. haha.

hang on there my comrade!

Anu said...

Dun worry dearie.. There'll be betta moments to make up for these.. U chose this profession cos thats who u were meant to be.. To help others at all times.. Its just ur nature my dear.. Let not moments like this lessen the bliss brought on by the other moments of joy and hope u have brought other patients.. Luv u gal.. We have to meet up soon k.. =) We'll add some light to ur life too..

sha said...

:) Dear girl!! They are one among the dozens of patients that you see but to them you're prob one of 2-3 people who can answer their questions and calm their anxieties... I know.. sometimes they really forget that you're only human as well.