I may live near San Francisco, but my soul resides here.
It will be a while before I can go back, but I will go back.
Instead, I will have to settle for a quick post to ventilate before my next 12-hour shift….
Dear Doctor Prissy Pants,
I’m so sorry you had to be on call this weekend.
I’m even more sorry that we had to call you in for a bad gallbladder.
Being on call sucks, I’m sure.
I’m positive that not having the nurses genuflect on your arrival was even more disturbing.
You see, Doctor, you are not the only person who had to work last night.
In fact, when you ambulated into the ER
- you walked into a department that was on ambulance diversion,
- was in the middle of try to get four patients admitted
- in addition to getting your patient to surgery,
- had every room full
- and three people who had not yet been triaged.
Frankly, oh esteemed colleague of the surgical persuasion, we were running our butts off.
Your patient, despite requiring surgery was stable.
Your patient could not have his consent signed because you had not yet made an appearance to explain the risks and benefits of the surgery, nor had you told any of us the nature of proposed surgery so we could at least have written that down for your convenience.
I’m sorry, I thought that was something covered in Surgery 101. How foolish of me to expect you to follow through with that.
I guess that is what the “hired help” known as nurses are for.
I would have had no problem with your attitude, even though you rarely see it in surgeons of your generation.
It was when you stood with your elbow leaning on the nurse’s station and remarked how nobody was doing a damn thing; that I was the only person you saw the entire time you had been there and who was going to get this patient to surgery?
That’s when I lost it.
Or nearly lost it.
You see, oh god of the OR, your patient was standing and voiding before going to surgery. He actually insisted on it!
But you wouldn’t care about that, you were being inconvenienced!
It’s odd Doc. I’m old enough now so that I’m not afraid of telling you exactly what I think of you.
So when I told you we were running our asses off and you made another snide comment, I was hotter than a fully stoked wood-burning stove.
But with age came the wisdom to know the time and place where it would be appropriate to rip you a new one.
The middle of a busy ER wasn’t it.
So I smiled ever so sweetly and told you that I if I said anything more, I’d be saying too much. And shall we take the patient upstairs you and I? After all, isn’t that the most important thing?
What is so frustrating about all this is that I can’t do anything with the rage I feel.
- I can’t tell you off, or I will be perceived as unprofessional. However you are allowed to insult/abuse the nursing staff without any repercussions what-so-ever.
- A letter to my manager? She’s “just” another nurse.
- A letter to the medical director of me ER?
- You probably play golf with him.
- Oh, he might “talk” to you, but you are a surgeon and the abuse you heap upon the nursing staff doesn’t amount to a hill of beans where you are concerned.
But let me tell you something. If I run into you in a parking lot, at the store, on the street, you will hear me. And it will be off the record so there is nothing you can do about it.
So, the next time you see me and think you can insult me, my profession and my colleagues?
Talk to the hand, because my ass will be too busy running to hear a thing you say.
Its arrogant idiots like you that make me want to blow this popsicle stand, buy a wardrobe of peasant blouses and long skirts, embrace my inner hippie and sell hand-made earrings on the streets of Mendocino.
You’re the biblical term for a donkey.
Or didn’t they teach you that in medical school….
And should you read this and think it’s about you, you’re right.
(Good god, and I still have two more twelve-hour shifts to go. At least now I can sleep with this off my chest.)