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Friday, March 10, 2006

My little runaway

Never lie to the doctor.

She was beautiful. Tall, svelte, with brassy gold-streaked hair. Milky skin with a blush of rose and the odd tiny brown freckle. Turquoise-centred eyes that melted into chocolate at the edges, shot through with flecks of sunlight. She spoke english with a french accent. She was only 15 years old.

She had swallowed a small peanut in a piece of candy and was known to have terrible allergic reactions to peanuts in the past. Her adrenaline pen was left at home in France. She had vomited up the offensive peanut and although she felt perfectly well, she had insisted on coming to hospital. A wise decision.

Sitting with her was a young man in his mid-twenties. He had a dusty moleskin coat on and a disarming smile. His dark hair was unruly, and curled over his forehead. He had a dimple in his chin and laughter creases at the corners of his grey eyes. In his hands, he held Miss Peanut's passport. He was a trucker. He drove a container truck and Miss Peanut had accompanied him from France. They were due back in France later that day.

He said he was her father. Not a wise decision.

Never lie to the doctor.

Whilst the nurses were busy administering the treatment I had prescribed, I went round to speak with one of my seniors who immediately alerted child protection services.

Were we dealing with human trafficking? Was Miss Peanut a victim of kidnapping or sexual trade or a runaway? Who was this trucker-father and was sort of goods does he deliver? If they absconded from the department, would we have to alert the police?

The wheels were set in motion. My seniors and the nurses were patting me on the back for making such shrewd observations and red-flagging this suspicious situation. I felt like a hero. I was going to save Miss Peanut from a horrendous predicament! It was the best of days! This is why I became a doctor - so that I could help people!

Two hours later, Mr Trucker was beginning to get nervous. They would miss their ferry in Dover if they were delayed any further. I explained to them that they could not leave because we needed to keep them in 'for observation'. I asked again about their relationship. He admitted that he wasn't her father.

He was her elder sister's boyfriend. He had thought that by lying about their relationship, it would make things easier for the both of them.

I asked Miss Peanut to call her parents in France, who confirmed that they knew she was with Mr Trucker and had given her permission to travel alone with him.

I discharged Miss Peanut there and then, feeling like a total idiot.

Champion to chump in under 10 seconds. A free-falling record. It was the worst of days. I did not become a doctor so that I could be a bumbling fool.

Never lie to the doctor.

Doctors are in a position where we can do alot of good, but we can also screw things up royally if acting on the wrong information. So be careful what you tell us. We just might do something about it.

5 Comments:

Blogger glared said...

You meant well, and its not your fault that things turned out like that. Would you have felt better if things turned out for the worse and you had not interfered? Don't be too hard on yourself. You did the correct thing by playing things safe.

7:16 am  
Blogger IML said...

What fumbling fool? I felt you have acted accordingly. Be glad that you were proven wrong. If your suspicion had been right, matter could have been worse for the girl.

9:02 pm  
Anonymous imp said...

you continued asking and uncovered the real story. that's a good move. chump. what chump? the previous decisions were to 'pre-empt' any bad happenings. i think you did alright.

10:31 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

glared: yes, but I felt bad because I was sneaking around behind their backs. On the other hand, I couldn't really be up front with my patient and be like 'what are you doing on a school day, wandering around with this truck driver?'

life story: I don't want to 'cry wolf' too many times.

imp: Actually, the nurses wormed the story out of them. There were 5 nurses and they kept taking turns to say 'So you're her *father*?' over and over again.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Kim said...

We can only act on the information we are given. Or NOT given. You had an obligation to do what you did and that makes you a "hero" even though the information was a lie.

Had you confronted them, and had been right, they would have bolted.

Nurses can do stuff like be subtle as they do their work, and patients, as we know, often give different stories to the nurse and then clam up when the doctor comes in.

5:10 am  

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