Saturday, March 20, 2004

This has GOT to be the first time a police officer has ever annoyed me.

The incompetence of the police post near my old place doesn't count, of course. But that's in the past.

About half an hour ago, 2 officers brought in a lady who allegedly tried to kill herself by walking into oncoming traffic. She has depression and is on follow-up with a psychiatrist at NUH. She admits to suicidal intent, and told me she repeatedly told the officers to take her there instead of CGH, since it makes sense in view of her history. Of course, her request went unheeded. The form even stated "for psychiatric assessment" in black and white. I then told the staff sergeant-in-charge that if they want such an assessment, they have to take her to either IMH or NUH, as she will need admission and her doctor is at the latter anyhow. I typed up a memo and they left. No problem, right?

Wrong. The sergeant then returns and asks me to sign the form, saying they will take her back to the station then release her, and let her go to NUH on her own .
"Huh?" I said. "What if she kills herself AFTER you release her? She needs to be admitted, which is why you should bring her to NUH immediately ."
"Don't worry. Just sign the form and we'll handle the rest," replies the officer. I'm beginning to get suspicious.
"Well, your form states very clearly that you brought her here for a "psychiatric assessment", which wasn't performed. So I can't sign this."
The sergeant then whips out his pen and CANCELS THESE THREE WORDS. He looks miffed, and I'm momentarily stunned ( doesn't happen often, but it did this time ).
"Wait here," I say. Short walk to the resus room to consult my registrar, who then comes back with me, and deems it appropriate to sign the form, but with documentation of specific instructions regarding the NUH referral. I ignore the sergeant for the rest of the consultation, and painstakingly write everything down in the patient's computerized medical records. They'd better not implicate me if something bad happens to this poor lady.

I'm in consult this Saturday afternoon, with the consolation of at least getting some money for being stuck here on the weekend ( doing morning tomorrow, ugh ). Emergency medicine is fun, but not when you're a junior handling coughs and colds, or pesky NS boys and a whole string of glue sniffers and assault cases ( especially at 2am in the morning when you're flying solo ). Seniors get all the excitement, or more importantly, warranted, true emergencies. Hopefully I can get promoted soon...

Taiwan Election Day

Received news of President Chen Shui-Bian's gunshot wound last night after my shift, and looks like he's none the worse for it. Lucky bloke. :)

Taiwan's Chen casts vote day after being shot

Read about him in a recent issue of Time magazine, which painted him as quite the ideal politician, and strongly pro-independence. If you've watched Taiwanese parliament in action on TV before, you'd know about all the insult-hurling, punch-throwing and chair-smashing. Makes for such compelling footage that I actually saw these scenes on an episode of "World's Most Amazing Videos", heh heh. :D Gotta admire their passion. Singapore parliament is so dull in comparison -- each member waiting his/her turn to drone on and on for half an hour or more. We need to inject more life into local politics. You know, something along the lines of taking nude pictures of yourself in a waterfall. ;)

A quick check with ChannelNewsAsia during dinner in the staff pantry shows a neck-and-neck race in the polls. A nurse commented that President Chen's "assassination attempt" sounds a bit fishy. All I can say is, either the sniper is a lousy shot, or it was indeed staged. Which assassin aims for the abdomen??! Take a cue from the JFK incident -- that guy went straight for the head. Publicity stunt? Quite possible. Trust the Taiwanese to make all our lives a little bit more interesting. :P

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