Bad shift

One of those shifts where I leave with a bitter aftertaste.
Hectic night.
Two of us holding down the emergency department,
No time for rest.
I had my dinner at 4.30am.

And I was drawing the short straw of the shift,
Always picking up the more complex patients.
Elderly patients with vague ailments who cannot be sent home because they ain’t safe home alone.
And I was seated by the phone,
So I was fielding and managing calls and patients from the wards.
It was insane.

To make matters worse,
I was rostered on at 10pm.
When I rocked up at that time,
Everyone was accusing me of being late,
That I should have been there at 8pm.
I double checked the locum letter and it definitely stated that I start at 10pm.
I sharply corrected the Director of ED when he implored that I was late.
I could have done it more respectfully,
But my reputation was at stake,
And in this line of work,
Reputation is everything.

Then the morning staff came.
Granted they were already starting on a bad note,
Given the emergency was chocker blocked with geriatric patients all waiting for a medical bed on the ward.
Medical beds that did not exist.
There were no free cubicles to see patients in the waiting room,
And a STEMI was on its way.
Plus they were two doctors down,
Shifts they could not fill despite a going rate of $85/hour.

But being unappreciated and insinuating I have not sorted out the patients is not acceptable.
They wanted to send some of the older patients home.
I begged to differ and have spoken to the medical team who had accepted them.
They wanted their beds cleared at all cost.
I wanted the patient to be properly worked up.
I suppose as emergency physicians they have to ensure the more urgency patients have slots.
As a physician trainee I do not see it that way.

And I’m fully aware of my temper and my tolerance.
I don’t know how to rein myself back.
They are ED consultants,
I’m a mere resident.
But I certainly do not hold back when I feel I have been wronged.
I don’t know many feet I have stepped on.
Hopefully they don’t take it personally.


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