Thursday, April 22, 2004

So much to do, so little time...

Something unusual happens whenever I swim. It's one of the very few times my head clears -- completely -- and I feel truly relaxed. Something about the repetitive strokes, the feel of the water as I glide through it, the sensation of total freedom. And peace of mind.
Yesterday was my first time dipping in the pool at the new place, after a hiatus of 2 months, thanks to a crazy schedule. I've got the intense shoulder and upper arm pain to show for it, but also a 24-hour cycle of circulating endorphins which even a lousy morning can't get rid of. :)

Why the lousy morning, you wonder?

Complaint letter. Again, sheesh! Directed at 3 A&E doctors, no less.
Case of a young man who attended twice with non-specific abdominal pain, then got admitted 2 days later and was eventually diagnosed with appendicitis. I was caught in the crossfire merely because the patient was handed over to me for a review during a change in shifts.

Never mind about the details, which I'm probably not at liberty to discuss. What I find appalling about the complaint ( made by the fellow's father, not the patient himself, mind you ) is the permeating sarcasm. He mentions how he contemplated writing to the Forum or his constituency MP, but later decided it would be "more appropriate and polite" to approach our "high office" first. Some other scattered comments about whether we're "fit to call ourselves a medical hub", how come it takes at least 3 doctors to to diagnose a "simple" appendicitis, how his "doctor's friend" ( why not his doctor? I ask ) said his son's condition could have been fatal if an operation hadn't been performed in time.

This is just another example of the increasing trend of unreasonable expectations from the general public with regards to healthcare. Everything's black and white to them: You're the doctor, you SHOULD be able to diagnose this, how can you NOT know what's going on, how come this wasn't done, how come that wasn't done, etc...
I'm occasionally tempted to tell them: Yes, you're absolutely right. We're clinically incompetent, and can only diagnose something after doing a whole panel of blood / urine tests, chunks of X-rays, +/- CT scans. That's what med school's all about -- learning which tests to order.

No thanks to the Forum Page, which I hold fully responsible for encouraging frivolous complaints to the print media. If you only knew the amount of abuse the medical staff tolerate. Who listens to US then???

First case I saw in resus this morning: drunk 30-year-old found lying at the side of the road, unconscious. Woke up in the ambulance. By the time he got to the hospital, he'd become super pissed off. Horrible-looking laceration left side of mouth -- REFUSED SUTURING. When I tried to persuade him otherwise, he started hurling Hokkien vulgarities, then threatened to come back another time to "get us". I got him to sign himself out pronto. Real piece of work.

Endorphins still blunting affect. Cool. :D

Something newsworthy for a change

I first got wind of this Tuesday night because of all the newsflashes on TV. It was unnerving, considering the first thought that went through my mind was "Is this a terrorist act?" Yeah, this is the era we live in: The Era Of Paranoia, post 9/11. Just the other day, an MRT worker was arrested after being caught on a surveillance camera planting a shoe box filled with aerosol cans and a note from "the al-Qaeda". This guy was brought here to be examined pre- and post-statement, but my chief saw him both times, so I didn't get the honour. :P It's times like these that make me grateful I have my own car, never mind the money I have to fork out for its maintenance.

As for the Nicoll Highway incident, one story in the papers today caught my attention. It gave an account of how one foreman ran back into the fray to rescue a bunch of workers, before going missing himself. 40 years old, with 2 young daughters. Whatever misconceptions you may have had about construction site supervisors treating their charges like dirt -- this kicks them right out the window. I hope he survived.

Clay Aiken update

Article from Exceptional Parent ( scroll down a little )
-- excellent piece.

Today's movie quote is from Swimming With Sharks / The Buddy Factor, the best Kevin Spacey film EVER, in my humble opinion ( tripping over his dog notwithstanding :)).

Buddy ( Spacey's character ):What I am concerned with is detail. I asked you go get me a packet of Sweet-N-Low. You bring me back Equal. That isn't what I asked for. That isn't what I wanted. That isn't what I needed and that s**t isn't going to work around here.

Guy ( his assistant ): I, I just thought...

Buddy: You thought . Do me a favor. Shut up, listen, and learn . Look, I know that this is your first day and you don't really know how things work around here, so I will tell you. You... have... no... brain . No judgement calls are necessary. What you think means nothing. What you feel means nothing. You are here for me . You are here to protect my interests and to serve my needs. So, while it may look like a little thing to you, when I ask for a packet of Sweet-N-Low, that's what I want. And it's your responsibility to see that I get what I want .

Sounds a bit like the medical profession to me. ( Buddy being the quintessential FON patient, that is. :D )

Over and out.

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