One of our orthopedic surgeons ran a small medical clinic at a nearby winter recreation area. When the skiers, snow boarders hadn’t come into vogue yet, were injured, he would provide emergency treatment for them at his clinic. He would do x-rays of their injuries, patch them up, and send them home to see their own physicians for follow up care. Of course he would be able to collect his fees for his services.
He kept the costs at his clinic low, by pilfering “his” supplies from our hospital’s emergency department. It kept the outlay of his clinic at a minimum and this increased his profits greatly.
When he was on call, he would see a patient in the emergency department. While he was seeing them, he would hide pillows and blankets under his coat and walk out of the emergency room with them. Casting supplies, splints, and dressings, he would sneak them into pockets or into his briefcase. Anything that wasn’t nailed down was fair game for him and helped him feather his clinic.
One day, he was called into the emergency room to take care of a woman with a broken wrist. He already had a plan in mind to take “his” supplies. He came in and placed his brief case on top of the counter just outside the cast room and popped the lid open.
While he was busy putting the cast on the patient, I needed the counter area to treat another patient. I closed the lid of his case and moved it to the floor behind one of the dressing carts.
I wasn’t paying attention to what was the doctor was doing, but the assistant head nurse and another nurse were watching through the windows that separated the nursing station from the treatment areas. As Dr. Selim exited the cast room, both of his arms were filled with casting material and supplies. He walked to the counter where he had left his open brief case. He stopped and looked puzzled when it wasn’t there. He turned around in a circle and still couldn’t find it. Walking back into the cast room, he tossed all the supplies onto the stretcher and walked out of the room without any of the almost purloined equipment.
As he exited, he asked me, “Where’s my briefcase?” I told him I was sorry, but I had to move it for another patient and pointed to where it had been placed. All the while, the nurses at the station were laughing. Our little bandit’s plans were accidentally foiled by me. I guess we mark one up for the good guys. The doctor left the emergency department with empty arms and an empty brief case.
Years later, after many complaints lodged from the head nurse and the staff in the emergency room about his pilfering, the administrators finally told us to “keep track of the things he took and the hospital would send him a monthly bill.”