Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stuck in the middle of you

One of the most amusing things has passed me by this week. One of our medical officers is admitted to our ward as a patient for an injury. I cannot say anymore due to confidentiality issues and my fear of being beaten up by the aforementioned doctor but at least he's getting the best attention.


There is a lot of tasks during internship which I don't mind performing. The clerical work is fine, such as typing up discharge summaries and writing prescription orders. I even like blood taking & intravenous catheterization, probably due to some sadomachoistic tendencies I have.

Yet there are some tasks we interns do not like. Performing ECGs are the prime example. ECGs take a considerable amount of time to perform, entailing numerous leads which seem to tie themselves into knots and requires the patient to lie completely still for one single ECG reading. That is difficult if the patient is a child or mentally unsound. I had this problem with a granny who came in with a fracture of the hip. Unfortunately she also had dementia and every time I put the chest leads on the patient, she kept pulling them off. It is the same with kids when I was in my last rotation - the buggers could stop squirming and crying.

Another task I hate performing is liaising with other doctors. This happens when I have to book any urgent investigations or consult other departments for their expert opinion. Unfortunately the house officers are the middlemen in the situation, having to convey what his/her medical officer wants from the other doctor. Sometime this entails a good amount of guess work since the medical officer doesn't write/state why he/she orders the investigation/consultation or the house officer doesn't think the investigation/consultation is necessary.

Then when the investigation/consultation is conveyed to the other side, the house officers get chastized for ordering a ridiculous investigation or consulting the doctor for such a minor problem, even though it was not their decision to make.

Please don't shoot the messenger for bring the message. Shoot the person who wrote the message.

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