Friday, August 22, 2008

Working through the storm.

I'm currently at work today as intern in the Surgical Admissions Ward, even though I'm not supposed to be. Since there is a typhoon heading straight towards Hong Kong, only on-call doctors are required to be on duty. This means the on-call doctors have a lot more work to do, since there will be people admitted today despite the weather. This is a ridiculous rule that applies to house officers, since us interns are living right next to the hospital, barely 50 metres away. There might be a slight threat of us being blown over but I still think it is negligible.

I came into work because I know somebody will be swamped with work and I'm too nice a guy to allow that to happen. I know it is a huge character flaw in Hong Kong that will be exploited. My admissions ward partner didn't come in today, despite living next to me in the quarters. He has an exam in October, so he needs to study and he was on-call the last time a typhoon nearly hit Hong Kong. So I can forgive him for not coming in today. However the intern who is supposed to be on-call for the Admissions ward today says he's not coming in until 18:00. That means the on-call medical officer for admissions is being swamped.

Also many of the nurses were surprised that I was in. Most of them were grateful I was in but there were a few who said I shouldn't be there since I'm not covered by the hospital. That is really the attitude of most hospital staff - to not hold responsiblity for any actions. Everybody doesn't want to work on the day of a typhoon. Nobody wants to hold responsibilty so nurses tell house officers when a patient's condition changed. I really don't like that attitude and in the era of litigation & claims & insurance, it really prevents good medicine from being practised.

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