Saturday, December 09, 2006

Autologous Autosplenectomy

I really hate it when there's a departmental fuck up waiting for you when you get to work.

Today, a patient fell through the cracks in the system. She presented short of breath and was seen promptly by one of the SHOs (junior docs). When he went home, some of her investigations were still outstanding, so he handed her care over to one of his day shift colleagues. Sadly, he did not document to whom he handed over; it appears that his colleague promptly forgot about the patient.

She sat in the ED obs ward for 8 hours, with little or no intervention. Both shifts of doctors and nurses failed to notice this patient... she was then admitted to the main hospital, to the medical service; but sadly without any prior discussion with the medics. This provoked much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

When I came on shift, everyone knew about this problem, but no-one had done anything. I realise it had been busy, but it isn't going to get any quieter. So, 12 hours after we began to neglect this patient, I had to try and clear up the mess. I hasten to add that she has come to no harm; but this certainly appears to be more luck than judgement. Some days, I'm really proud of my profession.

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