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Friday, 28 January 2011

Are We Insensitive?

A very typical scenario, you walk into the wards their are patients screaming and crying, and the doctors there seem to carry on with their work like they are deaf. The patient is crying please not a needle, but the doctor goes ahead and stick the needle. The patient begs to be discharged so she can go home for her birthday, the doctor ignores or tells her you have to sign a form stating you left against our advice. We break really Bad news causually. So I ask the question "Are doctors insensitive"? Or are we being clam and rational? Are we trying to give the impression that it is no big deal or it isn't the end of the world?

I was siting in the labour ward the other day and all around all I hear is screams, no one seems to care but we the medical students. We look around hoping our eyes could help the patients, yet no one moves an inch. Those of us bold enough ask is she in labour and the doctor answers very causally, yes. Not moved at all by the crys and screams. The more time I spend in hospitals d more I realize that as a doctor crying and screaming means nothing, when usually it should be a call for help. I watch and observe doctors ignore this call and I myself follow suit or at least I try. I must admit it's hard for me but I'm learning.  
During my surgery practise one day, I went into the theater and there was a young lady lying in the corridor crying so loud. I asked a surgeon, whats d case? and he tells me ectopic pregnancy (which we are taught is an emergency and immediate surgery must be done). But oh well here is this patient lying in the corridor crying, yet no seems to be bothered. I looked at her and she's like "help me, I'm dying" ( I can't even imagine the pain she was in). I could have walk off like every other "busy" surgeon around, to be honest I was tempted to but this lady was crying real hard, so I held her hands and smiled at her, and she said "I'm going to die" I told her you will be fine (not knowing), she clamed down down a bit somehow and then I left to go find my team. 
Days later I'm walking in the ward and some woman is greeting me. She must have me confused with someone else, but I smile and say hi to, "don't u remember me 'doctor' (head swells) from the Theater?" she said, immediately I remembered, she was d the lady I told "you will be fine" thank goodness she was. She goes on to add "thank you so much". Oh my the joy that went through me as the doctors on my team just stared, thinking to their selves what could a medical student possibly have done, to make this patient so happy and grateful. Well I was SENSITIVE!

keep smiling, love


Azuka said...

Nice. I think after some extent you become desensitized. A more positive way to put it is you become quite rational because it's something you've seen so many times.

Anonymous said...

i hope i never lose my compassion. it really does make a difference if people care. I'm studying in South Africa and the hospitals are just so overcrowded that it's sometime's impossible to pay attention to everyone. But a comforting word and a smile can go a long way. Good post.

fabladyH said...

Yeah I understand, so many people its hard to pay attention, but if u just walk along with a smile on your face, I guess that helps a lot.. x

beeladonna said...

NICE!! ... My dad is doctor (to simplify) LOL and anytime I am ill I blow things out of proportion and he just calmly asks do you feel this that blah blah and the simply says take this or that. And thats it .. its like tell me to simple tie my shoe lace and keep walking LOL!!
It makes me laugh actually but the scary part is when a doctor panics a bit while still calm to your symptoms then you start to REALLY get scared its like OMG it has to be serious!!!
So I guess its sort of a good thing that you all remain calm as not to over worry the patient but then again as you've demonstrated, there is a very thin line between being calm and being insensitive.

Nice work :-)!!!!

The Corner Shop said...

Awwww that's soo sweet! I bet you must have felt good. That's the power of empathy!

I think doctors can get very hardcore cause they've seen lots of horrible stuff (read shit). Thank God for softie medical students like you. lol

Nadia said...

Great action! I think as medical students, we are all so sensitive to patient's cries and pain. One of the interns once told me that after a while she just started to block the pain of the patients out of her head and stopped being sensitive. Sure we should not let our emotions affect us too much but I think doctors should be nice and reassure patients all the time. Medicine is an art indeed!

Damilola Jewel said...

nice one!!! i am a medico too..i once almost danced when something similar happened to me,,the patient actually bought me biscuits and really felt good..and i seriously hope we too don't get as insensitive as time rolls by..
cheers!! new Doc..


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