We've all been there. There is nothing more annoying than stepping into a room to assess your patient, administer a medication, or carry out an order, and just as you have everything set up to do what you need to do, RRRRINNNNGGG. "Yeah, um, I'm gonna have to take this. Can you come back in a minute?"
Sometimes I do, and to be honest, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I tell the patient that if I do not do this now, I won't be able to come back for a few hours, and I will have to chart their refusal. It sounds rude, but sometimes you just have to do things like that. A few thoughts come to mind when a patient feels their phone call is more important than the "acute" care they are receiving in the hospital:
1. They really aren't very sick
2. They really aren't very smart
3. They really aren't very nice
And of course, any combination of the three. You see, it's all about the patient having their rights, and I totally understand that. If they have to talk to a husband from Iraq, that's okay. If their But at the same time, patients should understand that they have been admitted to the hospital for urgent, around the clock care, because a doctor has deemed it necessary.
However, as much as this pushes my buttons (and I hope you can just feel my anger), the newest thing I have observed is not only the patients talking on their cell phone, but...
The doctor? Yes, the doctor.
The other day while doing clinicals at a medium-sized facility, the Respiratory Therapist I was working with was paged to a Rapid Response Team call. There are some mixed feelings among researchers and health care providers alike as to whether or not these teams are successful, but that is a whole other post waiting to happen.
Let me paint a scenario for you:
A patient with a history of Sinus Bradycardia and COPD is undergoing a chemical stress test. Minutes after being injected with Adenosine, the patient's HR spikes to 106-108 BPM (well over the pacer) and is throwing frequent PVC's. He is very hypertensive (200/108) and extremely dyspneic and tachypneic. He becomes diaphoretic.
Enter: The cardiologist. Before even fully examining the patient, his cell phone rings. Okay, no big deal. We assume he is paging the hospitalist who is seeing the patient to explain what is going on. This happens all the time. Much to our shock, he says:
"Yeah, honey? Can you hear me?! Look, sweetie, I'm with a patient who is very dyspneic and not doing so well. I still want to do dinner. Can I call you back?"
Oh, you can only imagine how INFURIATED I was. His patient could have died in the seconds he was on the phone. I mean, I know I'm just a student, but come on?
We can't very well ask patients if they mind hanging up their cell phone so we can talk to them if the doctor does it.*
*I'm not talking just about doctors doing this. I've seen nurses, lab techs, CNAs all using their cell phones during patient care. I'm in no way simply ragging on docs, but this is what made me mad the other day. /End rant.
2008 24 Feb 2009