Monday, September 20, 2004

The Night Owl

The first night in the CCU went uneventfully. I had to torment a bunch of LOL in NAD’s (Little Old Ladies in No Apparent Distress) because they decided they needed to come to the hospital for a pain in the leg and the shoulder, respectively. Both were found to have an arrhythmia which could possibly kill them. Except, they’ve probably been walking around with this horribly deadly arrhythmia for quite a long time and now they met a resident who will probably kill them. Never before have they ran into the medical madhouse where interns stick you with needles and residents on call have to punish you for coming to the hospital in the first place. One of the LOL’s needed to get a blood draw every 2 hours. She had one vein left in her body and it was hanging on by a thread. I managed to collapse it at several different points just for good measure. She should be in systemic shock at some point this morning.
To make things worse, the LOL shouldn’t have been getting the medication she was getting that forced me get her bloodwork every two hours. It was a cardiology fellow screwup and he refused to fess up to it in front of the attending making the rest of us look like jackasses. I managed to pretend not to know who ordered it and audited the order system in the computer. His name came up, mysteriously. Wiseass!
Different topic: Some time off in the night allowed me to read an article in the NEJM about how residents and medical students are getting screwed by the match and the hospitals and the government. I often think that it would all be totally worth it if I thought that my patients really appreciated what we go through to take care of them. 4 years college, 4 years med school, 3 years residency, 3 years fellowship, thousands of dollars in debt. Where I learned medicine patients families brought food and cakes to the department every day. They said thank you endlessly. They really made me happy to be there. I would love to say that it is the case here in NY but it isn’t even close, maybe in other areas of the US. If you have any insight feel free to add your two cents. If you have any idea on how I can pay all this debt back please feel free to add your donation (just kidding).