Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A mostashfa el-Basheer moment

The emergency room is a fun place to be. Sometimes it's crazy and pakced with sick patients and at other times it would be empty and you'll find nurses sitting down chatting and making fun of doctors.

Yesterday was one of those crappy busy days and the ER was so packed that patients, laying on beds, were placed in the hallways outside rooms. The patients thrown in the hallway were more than those inside the rooms. .

I was called to admit a lady (I'll call her Dickens) with a hand infection. She had some psychiatric issues (i.e. she was crazy) and she tried to kill herself once so she cut herself and her hand kept getting infected since then. Her dcotor in the clinic thought that she needed to stay in the hospital. He called me at 2 pm to admit her to the hospital. There were no beds and she had to stay in the hospital.

At 5 pm the clinic closed, so they had no option but to send to the emergency room until they find a bed for her in the hospital.

I went to the ER and she was standing in the hallway waiting for someone to place her in a room or a bed or a chair and leave her there, but there was absolutely no palce for her. I asked her to wait in the lobby but there were no places. She did not require urgent treatment and all patients inside the ER were really sick so it was not reasonable to kick them out.

I went to a nurse and asked him, "Can you place Mrs. Dickens somewhere in the ER? "

"Doc it's full as you see, send her to the lobby"
"the lobby's full"
"I dunno doc I dunno I have a patient with a BP of 40 I gotta go, maybe we'll have a place for her in the hallway in half an hour"

I went back to the lady, "Hey Mrs. Dickens do you wanna wait in your car for half an hour then come back here, maybe we'll find a spot for you."

"I don't have a car, I came by bus"

I felt helpless and started to understand why Arizona scored an "F" in the emergency room care grading last year. Every winter we have hundreds of thousands of people called "snow birds" come in from the cold states because winter is beautiful here. Most of them are old so they get sick and come to the hospital.

I looked around and the area OUTSIDE the hospital was even packed with people and their families. Oh my God, where the hell should I send this lady? My patient got very angry and unpleasant and said that she would leave the hospital against medical advice if we don't find a place for her. I couldn't blame her.

It was about 8 pm then, I went to the coffee machine and looked outside and found an empty zone.....

I went back to the ER where she was standing and shaking with rage.
"Hey Mrs. Dickens, I have a suggestion"

She looked at me

Then I paused, and I had one of the biggest internal conflicts in my life. I wasn't sure if I should say it or not, but I found myself suggesting, "Why don't you go out there near the coffee machine, there's a smoking area where you can have a cigarette, take your time and when you come back maybne we'll have a spot for you"
"Sure", she walked oputside and I went back to my computer and started writing orders. She became back two hours later (probably smoked the whole pack) but we had a bed for her.

Before she went upstairs I wanted to feel better.... "You know, smoking is bad for you"

"Yeah..... "

I cleared my conscience completely when I convinced myself that this lady who had four previous suicidal attempts would probably kill herself before smoking kills her.

Also , that day, I realized why they had a smoking area just outside the hospital!


Mala2e6 said...

lol i dont know who to feel sorry for..maybe the coffee machine..:D

ya3teek il 3afeyeh :0

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a looong day doc.
I can relate to that, I used to hate it when I worked at the hospital in those busy days, the pharmacy would be over crowded and things are crazy...
But come on... Arizona is nice in summer? I thought it’s extremely humid over there? You should come to LA to see how nice it is in summer… :D

Anonymous said...

You called that woman crazy because she tried to commit suicide four times ! Ok, I have to admit that when I read that i.e.she is crazy .. I smiled ,,, I am fed up with all this political correctness all around the world that you cannot say anything anymore because you will be offending someone somewhere ,, I just had one of these discussions ,, they make me feel sick ,, of course ,, the exception to this rule , is that you can totally bash religion, especially christianoty and the Church ,, and that will be cool !!!

7aki Fadi said...

mala2e6 said what i was thinking but better

And lol @ I cleared my conscience

So Hareega: is doctor house for real? Do you actually do find diseases like this in real life? Maybe not in the same hospital; but in other hospitals all around?

So if you treat people like house will you get fired?

I love house, he is the rudest person on the planet

Tiger said...

well for a guy who visited ER in AL basheer hospital once this story sounds like paradise land:)

lubna said...

timed post! I went to Jordan hospital today, took my brother to remove the cast on his hand. It took me a while to park the car, all was full bu the moment i stepped into the ER I was shocked. There was just one girl who's acting sick and us. Found this ER pretty weird!

Hareega said...

mala2e6... i always feel sorry for the coffee machine

maioush... Arizona is very dry, in summer we get mansoons and it might be really humid after a heavy rainy day but it quickly becomes hot and all the water evaporates and it becomes very hot and dry again.
Yeah the weather is better in LA but I hate the traffic and the prices and the crime....etc

anonymous... well i didn't mean to call her crazy because she wanted to kill herslef, i feel sorry for any suicidal person, but i called her crazy because she was crazy, she would fake symptoms and would yell at you or be nice to you once then in a second starts screaming and calling you names....etc, just crazy

7aki fadi... what's doctor house??

tiger... I have to agree, al-bahseer is a totally different story, you can spend a night in its ER then come back and write a book about it

lubna... jordan hospital is a different story, it's hilarious! it's a disaster

Linda said...

oh wow i feel like i just got done watching an episode of ER, one of my fav. shows...and little by little, im thinking you look like Luka one of the doctors on the show ;) you still owe me a pic :P

7aki Fadi said...

It's the best TV show on the planet (after Heroes)

Google, "House MD"

Unknown said...

Wow, I find your story is very amazing...
I wish those doctors in my area had some humourous senseslike you ^^
Poor the woman though. Her doctor even add one more thing in her reason-to-die list

An Oriental Blog said...

hehe liked that title, fits perfectly

Hareega said...

7aki fadi... maybe i'll rent some of its DVDs and watch them, those medical shows irritate me somehow

linda... anoo pic ya sheikha? ostori 3alay

phuong... thanx for the compliment

oriental blog, thanx for reading