I was on Facebook the other day and watching a bunch of people complain about their doctor being late. I started wondering about all the things that made me late to see patients so I thought I’d write them down in the hope it would make everyone in the SMH comments section hate doctors a bit less. Possibly more if they see this but hopefully not
doctors I am late sometimes.
- I have lots and lots of patients. This one seems obvious but in a hospital you can never see a new patient quickly. It comes back to bite you if you do. And most of the patients in hospital are of an older vintage and can’t be expected to remember the bits of their medical history I want them to remember so I have to ring their GP, their other hospitals, and their kids and their neighbours to piece together enough of a history that helps me understand why they’ve come to the emergency department unconscious, and what of their medical history is likely to slow them down getting home.
- Figuring out what medication my patients are on. I know this should be in 1 but it deserves it’s whole own category. Working this out is a bit like India Jones with those Roman numerals in The Last Crusade sometimes. The amount of medications that some people are on and who has changed them and when is mind boggling.
- I am hiding in the toilet from the boss that was really mean to me a year ago and I don’t want him to see me and be mean to me again and I have to text my intern and find out if he’s gone even though he probably has no idea who I am but he might.
- I need a coffee and have in fact slowed to a standstill while my panicked intern runs downstairs and comes back and puts a coffee in my hand so I can drink it and we can keep moving. Also I’m not allowed to drink my coffee on the ward/in front of you so I have to finish it before I keep moving or hide it in convenient places where it can’t hurt anyone.
- I am eating lunch. We get half an hour for lunch. I take 9 minutes exactly with an extra 2 minutes staring into space/groaning about having to stand up again. It still counts as a delay because I could be seeing patients in that time.
- I already came to see you but you were asleep/getting a test/told me to piss off. I always come back!
- I am chasing a delirious person. This a common and unseen job of hospital doctors/nurses/cleaners/security/random hallway guy. Delirious people have no idea where they are or how they got there so it’s only natural they would try to leave, and only natural they would get very upset, nay violent, when it is suggested to them that they can’t leave. Chasing a delirious person means walking after them, but not too close, trying to join them in whatever delirious place they’re in and trying to reason with them into returning to that strange bed with the strange other people in the other 3 beds in the room because it’s good for their health. No, I wouldn’t believe me either.
- Ranting at the ward clerk because my patient keeps calling me nurse. I have been seeing them daily, every day, for two weeks and introducing myself as their doctor and it. does. not. compute. So then I inevitably rant at the sympathetic ward clerk about #everydaysexism before my intern comes out and tells me the orthopaedic surgeon is here to have a chat about our patient and ask which guy he is in the group over there. Naturally, it’s a woman. This rant always makes me late but it needs to be had.
- I am hungry and my blood sugar is -5 and there are no patient biscuits in the cupboard so I have to go upstairs to the vending machine and eat something delicious but disgusting so I can make the words English good.
- I am blogging. Haha just kidding, I wish. Hospitals have the strictest firewalls ever. They even block reputable medical websites. But curiously not Youtube.