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Sunday, July 27, 2008

There will always be physicians who hate RTs

While I don't know how it could be possible, but there are a few physicians who do not like respiratory therapists.  One day, while the respiratory therapist was doing my job, or so he thought, by reviewing the chart of a patient he was taking care of in the emergency room, an angry doctor approached him.

The angry doctor said, "why are you looking at that chart?"

The RT said, "It's my job."

The angry doctor said, "No it's not."

"Well, yes it is."

"No, looking at the chart is my job."

"I have to know what's going on with the patient."

"No you don't. That's confidential."

"I was ordered to do a treatment, and I need to know about the patient."

"No you do not."

Hmmm.  By this point the blood running through the RT's veins was starting to boil, and so so he marched out of the emergency room.

He reported the physician, but nothing was ever done.  Over time he learned there were many therapists who had been cornered in such away by this doctor, and in all cases the incidence was reported, and in none of them was anything ever done.
That's just the way it is in the real world.  To reprimand this one physician based on the word of said therapists would only rock the boat, and Lord knows it's easier to listen and do nothing.

Doctors like this, far and few between I must add, do come around from time to time, and we RTs simply have to grin and bear it.  They think we RTs are mere ancillary staff, not trained with any medical skills that might benefit them and the patient.  They do not, as a matter of chance, ever ask for advice from a lowly RT.

One day I was helping a coworker take care of a COPD patient in respiratory distress.  My coworker knew the guy and was chumming with him.  The doctor pulled him aside and said, "Please don't talk to the patient, he needs to concentrate on his breathing!"

However, the doctor's order was not complied with, because my coworker's bantering with this patient was well received by the patient.  The doctor was wrong.

Justice was when the patient called for the supervisor to complain, not about the bantering therapist, but the physician.

One of my RT friends emailed me once and said she heard one doctor say: "Stupid RTs think they know everything."

It's true!  It's rare.  But it happens.  There are pathways to solving such problems, but professionals learn how to cope with these kind of things.


my-rt-life said...

Geez. We have a few docs like that, but I don't think any of them are that bad. Our Cardiologists are notorious for saying, "I don't give a shit, call the hospitalist," or, "Why the hell are you calling me?" in the middle of the night when their patient converts to a dangerous rhythm...but none of them seem as bad as Dr. Krane.

I hope your co-worker does complain, and maybe some good will come out of it.

AllClear said...

I am starting RT school in two weeks... I have enjoyed reading your blog, it's been informative - outside looking in..

I find postings like this everywhere on the net - the whole disrespect thing, cave thing, underdog'ish atmoshphere, yet many people -myself included- are drawn to this field. What keeps you in this field and going strong when up against the elitist attidues you encounter?

Freadom said...

Good question. I will answer it in a post coming soon.