Saturday, 10 March 2012

Saving Lives and Trying Not To Get Shot

It's been a really long time since I posted anything here.  I'd like to attribute it to ungodly hours at the hospital but most of the time I'm just really tired and couldn't be bothered. Gotta say though I did not expect to ever reach 12,000 visits , although to be fair 8,000 of those were people looking for pictures of  Yousra naked and/or Demon picture searching. Read my post on my Psych ward days. It's somewhere in the archives and I'm too lazy to actually get a link.

So I'm finally a resident in our local Pediatric government hospital. It's been a month now and the things I have witnessed, ranging from bitchy nurses to crazed parents, I suspect, have taken their toll on my psyche. But not to worry folks, that just means more stories for you, ESPECIALLY if I know you in person. Now a lot of things have happened in the one month so it's tough to choose a particular story, but seeing as how I haven't updated in a while, let me tell you about the time I almost got shot.

It was like any other day in the emergency department. The flow of patients was unbelievably horrible and we were trying everything we could to stay on top of things. Among those patients, were 2 neonates (less than 28 days old) who were ridiculously sick. They both needed to be admitted into incubators (of which we had none available) and so we told them to go out and call as many hospitals as they could in hopes that one hospital would have an incubator available to move them into. Before you start wondering why we leave the patients' families to call hospitals and label us assholes, it's simply due to the fact that staying on the phone takes a long time and when you have a dozen patients at any given moment, you tend to use every given moment to good use on the patients you can actually help.

Anyways it was all well and good, until suddenly one of the mothers lost her shit. She started shouting at us and called us 'fucking corrupt assholes'. Apparently, what had happened was that there was another patient that needed an incubator too but because those people had 'connections' with the hospital staff they were able to free up an incubator for them. When mother of sick baby number 1 asked mother of baby going to incubator what was happening, she literally told her, "It's because we know a certain doctor here"


Needless to say, it didn't take too long for both families to descend on our asses with full force. Not only were we outnumbered but there were other patients that needed management and they were just getting in the way of that. So I decided to go outside and talk to about 10 maniacally angry family members, who saw me as the devil's bastard son that never lived up to the devil's expectations. Like Peter The Pied Piper, I lured them all outside with my white coat, that they thought needed a little bloodying.

Keep in mind I did not see this 'fabled doctor' that brought a patient upstairs. So I operated on the basis that this did not happen, and that the mother was full of shit.

I went outside, and decided to talk to the two fathers; one very calm and one very VERY angry. Very angry dad shouted obscenities at me and kept threatening to destroy the hospital and everyone in it (normal fluffy stuff for doctors who have been to the Emergency department) and I tried to summon every ounce of my being to appear sympathetic. Its not that I wasn't. It's just that it's very hard to be sympathetic to a man who's constantly slurring at you with violent obscenities and things he'd like to do with your anus. After successfully calming him down (by promising to show him that we really don't have any incubators available) calm father decided to interject.

"Doc, listen. I work as hospital security for another hospital, and I know and you know, that if I want to secure a place for my son, I'm going to go ahead and do so."

Very normal, albeit a little bit irrational, statement from calm father. Now the thing is, he was saying this to me as he was pulling a gun out of his jacket.

Puts a whole new spin on that last sentence now doesn't it?

So there I was, not quite at gun point because he never pulled it out entirely, but still very much stressed out by a man with a gun who just threatened to kill me.

I did what anyone would do at said moment.

I smiled and laughed.

Okay maybe not anyone.

I asked him "Are you threatening me?"
"Not at all, I'm just showing you what I'm capable of."
"So you are threatening me then. Well let me ease this for you. If you kill me right now, that still won't free up an incubator for your son. The only way you can free an incubator is for me to direct you upstairs and have you kill one of the babies inside one."

That totally caught him off guard thank God.

"What the fuck are you saying? Of course I'm not going to kill a baby."
"So you're going to kill me? A man trying to stay awake for 24 hours and at the same time trying to help as many sick kids as physically possible."

That shut him up.

He put the gun back in his pocket and started crying.

I took everyone outside and gave every cigarette I had to everyone and we all shared a smoke and calmed our nerves down. That was it. Just as easily as the situation escalated, it was easily defused again.

There is a happy ending and there is a sad ending to this story. Angry father's baby managed to stay stable enough for them to find an incubator the next morning. Calm father's baby didn't.

There is no point to this story. I am not angry at the man who pulled the gun out on me. He was a father and didn't know what to do. I'm not sad at the kid that died. He was young yes, but there was alot wrong with him so he's definitely in a more comfortable place right now. I'm also not angry at the hospital due to their surprising lack of incubators (one might argue they have the money and they're not spending it correctly or one might argue that we don't get enough funds but that is neither here or there)

I guess I'm angry at the fact that it's never enough maybe. I don't know. This story was supposed to be surreal and funny, and to my friends that I've told this story to in person, they can vouch that it was.  I think it's because writing it down makes it seem a whole lot more real that it actually felt. A man resorted to something he probably thought he'd never do in his life to save his son.

It's so sad, stupid and brave all at the same time.