Sunday, January 26, 2014

An eventful week saving people

I usually don't write about my work. I tend to bitch about most subjects in this blog. I don't want to come across as complaining about my occupation. There are things that are wrong with my job but that is the same as any other job and I usually like going to work. Yet there were two incidents this week which are worth writing about.

Two patients collapsed in our clinic this week and I had to handle the incidents. After the second person collapsed and the clinic staff & myself had dealt with the situation, I was really questioning whether or not I broke a mirror or stepped on a black cat.

The first man to collapse wasn't that dramatic. The only reason why I was cursing the situation was that the man wasn't our patient. He was a patient who was being followed up at the local hospital for a multitude of ailments. He was just visiting the clinic to use the toilet before he fell unconscious. He recovered spontaneously and after further questioning, didn't have any symptoms. When we did our preliminary checks, he was found to have high blood pressure, an irregular pulse and high blood sugar. Naturally an ambulance was called to send him to the hospital.

I later found out that he only stayed in hospital for a couple of nights, his collapse due to his poor control of his diabetes and recent dehydration. The attending medical officer even used what I wrote in the referring letter as the patient discharge notes, word for word. I don't know if I should be flattered that my notes were comprehensive enough the attending doctor only needed to add what they did in hospital or that doctor was too lazy to write his/her own notes.

The second patient was much more dramatic but not life-threatening as some of my colleagues seem to think. Again I was cursing my bad luck and wondering if I had done anything wrong recently.

I tend to arrive very early to sort out my patient's medical records and to have some breakfast. I had not even started to chow down on my McDonald's jumbo breakfast (I know I'm being unhealthy in eating that) when I heard the commotion outside that somebody had collapsed outside the clinic. All my clinic staff know I arrive early to work, so naturally they called me out to attended to the patient. This was despite the fact that the doctor who was responsible for emergency cases that day had already arrived at work.

The patient was already conscious when I arrived at the scene and was bleeding from the forehead. I thought it was just going to be a normal "slip and fall" case with a head wound. Then I noticed the gentleman was not moving his limbs that much. On asking the patient, he could walk beforehand and he was not in any pain to prevent him from using his arms and legs. I checked his medical record - no history of stroke. On examination, all he could do was move his left leg. This would be the only time I would make such an accurate diagnosis such as stroke (which it was, after checking on the notes when he was admitted). Again the patient was swiftly dispatched to the hospital.

I'm just glad this week is over and I can go do my own stuff, such as enjoy a day with the Scrabble club (I know I'm a nerd).

What I've learnt from all these experiences? I'm not turning up for work early again.