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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dear Doctors: Don't be callous

I knew what would benefit the patient, and the doctor Mallison was sitting right next to me, yet I said nothing. I knew I had a 50/50 chance this doctor was going to say something like, "Rick, we are not going to extubate this patient!"

Better yet, the other day Dr. Peterson was sitting at the desk charting, and Dr. Mallison came up to him and said, "Why didn't you order ventilator protocol! You need to order ventilator protocol! I see there was no sputum sample either. If you would have ordered the protocol this wouldn't have happened!"

Dr. Mallison walked out of the room. That was when Dr. Peterson spoke for the first time, "What does she think she is: the chart police. There's no law that says I have to order the ventilator protocol."

Dr. Mallison is like a ticking time bomb. She has absolutely no empathy for the fact that you are at the bedside and might know what's going on with the patient at that moment either.

One time I had a patient who's sats were in the 70s and increased the oxygen to a 50% ventimask, and then I called the doctor. My thinking was that if I didn't take this action in this order, the patient would be dead by the time the doctor answered her page.

It's common sense. Right?

Yet Dr. Mallison laid into me: "Why do you raise oxygen without an order. What if she was a retainer? You should know better than to raise oxygen without an order!"

So you can see, she's a hard liner. So here I was, sitting next to her with my ideas for helping the patient, yet I was afraid to ask her.

Later that night the nurse had a concern and wanted to call the doctor. Normally she would have picked up the phone and called, yet she turned to me and said, "I don't want to talk to her. She'll say something like, "Why are you calling me at 2 in the morning."

Callousness is a trait that no doctor should have. To have no empathy and show no respect for other doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists only results in worse patient care.


Anonymous said...

Too bad I see more "Doctors" like this than not.........

Anonymous said...

Some docs seem to enjoy this kind of power trip. There is no "I" in team, but they don't care. Even if their bad behavior is braught to their attention many choose not to change, and it is a reflection of their character. I thought the golden rule was to treat others as you would want to be treated, but sadley many docs do not subscribe to this when talking to anybody. It says a lot about their ego too. It's funny because at other hospitals you may have been repremanded for not turning up the oxygen in such an emergency. I guess it depends on the culture of where you work.