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Monday, September 26, 2005

What the...?

So I'm talking to a boy with a sprained ankle, when this woman comes bursting into the room screaming, "I need 300milligrams of aspirin NOWWW!!" and then bursts into tears.

The nurse goes over to talk to her and she blubbers out her request. She wants 300milligrams of aspirin, crushed into a powder and sprinkled over bread.

What the...? Can you repeat that please?

300 milligrams of aspirin. Crushed. On bread.

The nurse asks her why. And she points at the door dramatically as a man walks in bearing in his arms...

The sickest Westland Terrier I have ever seen.

The fellow puts the dog down. And the dog heaves a steaming puddle of vomit on the floor, and then cocks up his leg and proceeds to redecorate the walls.

What the...?

We had to turn the poor sobbing woman away, saying that we didn't want to be responsible for giving the dog anything that might possibly make it worse.

This is a hospital, for crying out loud! We deal with humans, not animals!


Blogger Pink Claws said...

Oh dear...she must feel terrible knowing her pet is in pain yet helpless to do anything...

i hope she managed to get to a vet

8:16 am  
Blogger stellou said...

i'm just remembering that when i was a kid running a fever, my mum used to crush a panadol tablet and mix it with a spoonful of honey. i like my mum.

6:16 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

pink claws: I think bringing a sick, obviously non-toilet trained animal to a hospital was a big mistake, especially since it's meant to be a hygienic place. I don't really feel sorry for the woman, but I do feel sorry for the poor animal - who knows what other random medications it has been fed!

stellou: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! Your mum *is* Mary Poppins!!!

9:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wondering what confidentiality constraints you have in the UK... love the anecdotal aspect of the work but at the same time, where would you draw the line in terms of privacy. Particularly with the more heartfelt moments you encounter at work such as your story of the man seeking euthanasia. Having said all that, I enjoy your viewpoint of ED work, far different from how I approach it.

12:06 am  
Blogger tscd said...

anonymous: This is a very good question. I am highly aware of patient confidentiality and go through great pains in protecting my patient's privacy. Like case studies in medical journals, I omit the details that would potentially allow my patient's identities to be traced.

Additionally, my observations as recorded here are non-medical and highly subjective, as they are closely tied into the emotional reaction that each patient has inspired in myself. My descriptions of them are more like caricatures than portraits - coloured with my impressions.

1:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

caricatures eh... interesting way of looking at it. I guess when you are bogged down with the banality of day to day work, it's only through the encounters with others that you remember your day and in some ways pay homage to the suffering of certain patients. would you be interested in palliative care work at any point in time or would you avoid it.


1:54 pm  

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