Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Coffee Anyone?
One physician, not one of the emergency room doctors, would often have his office patients report to the emergency department for him to see. He would order the testing that he thought needed to be done. Without any inconvenience to him, he could extend his office hours on the backs of the emergency room’s nursing staff. There was no policy to prevent him from doing so.
We would have to make a chart for each patient, do their assessments, disrobe them, gown them, and take the patient’s vital signs. Once the person was settled in one of the beds, we would call the doctor for orders. When he thought the results would be back, he’d stroll over to see the patients. Usually we would have two or three beds tied up for just his clients until he finished rounding in the hospital and came to see them.
Eventually, he got tired of answering our telephone calls as each patient would arrive. He knew how many patients he had advised to come and meet him at the hospital. He would make us wait until he thought that they had all arrived before he would return our calls. We would then have fill out the needed requisitions for the ordered tests and wait for the results to come back. All the while, our beds were being tied up with his patients, waiting for him to come and to see them. Once the all of results were back, we would again have to page him and he would eventually decide to stroll over to see his patients.
We heard through the grapevine, that each morning, he liked to grab a cup of coffee and talk with the radiologists before he visited his in-patients, so we started to call x-ray to see if they could prod him into answering our pages.
This worked well for awhile until one day someone called the radiology department and asked if the doctor was there. Apparently he had told the technicians and the secretaries not to interrupt him or even tell us whether he was in the hospital or not. He obviously didn’t want bothered until HE was ready.
He was married, but it was also rumored that he had a girlfriend on the side who worked in the radiology department as well. Do you think it was a coincidence?

It was a very busy morning and we had four of his patients filling our beds. The emergency department had a total of eight beds at the time. We were trying to work around his patients and take care of those arriving for emergency treatment. The limited number of beds that we had available hampered us and made our jobs so much more difficult. Of course, this was one of the days he refused to answer his pages.
I got frustrated at his lack of concern for his patients and for the emergency room in general. I felt the devil crawl out of me and climb up onto my shoulder. I snatched up the telephone and dialed x-ray.
“This is the x-ray department. How may I help you?” a female voice demurely chimed.
I said, “This is Tom from the emergency room. Would doctor Malden happen to be there enjoying a cup of coffee and a honey bun?”
Now a honey bun could have been one of those sweet, sticky, swirled pastries or….?  Well you get the idea.
I heard a small gasp on the other end of the phone and then a soft chuckle before the super sweet voice said, “Hold on, I’ll check for you.”
Dr. Malden returned my telephone call shortly thereafter. I don’t know if she ever told the doctor or his honey bun what I had said, but when I called the x-ray department from then on, someone would always check to see if he was there. They would do it for me and no one else. I guess my “innocent” comment had gotten passed along to her fellow employees.

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