Monday, December 06, 2004

CALL-TURK update

I actually got through last Friday, and was able to leave a message. We shall see.

Also, I worked in the trauma room over the weekend. Just apropos of nothing at all, if ever I'm feeling weird and sort of dizzy, and a head CT at my friendly, competent, perfectly good small-town hospital shows nothing wrong but I'm admitted to the hospital anyway for other sorta-related neuro reasons... please make sure the staff doesn't let me sleep for like 10 hours straight without waking me for vitals, talking to me, or doing a crapload of neuro exams. Because, while I do like helicopter rides, and I love to take naps, I also like waking up.

DISCLAIMER: I actually don't know how this patient is doing today. Could be anywhere on the spectrum. Plus, there's not a lot of info about what happened in the case before the patient's arrival, and I may not have seen the whole chart. This is more a story about how things might go, sometime, somewhere... but back to our story.

Preferably, if I'm checked in with a nonspecific problem in the noggin, you'll room me with a noisy 8-year-old insomniac who is not actually all that sick. I say this because either playing Ratchet and Clank or plotting revenge against a tiny tormentor would be a higer brain function, and in times of neurological distress, I'll want a reason to practice those.

Like I said, the facts of the case are admittedly a little sketchy (which by the way helps me to obscure the identifying details; convenient!), but the principle here is like I was taught: "if you don't put it in the chart, there's no way to know it happened." And we know that the scan done less than 24 hours previous, at PGSTH, was read as normal while ours was really, really... not. Whatever the specifics, my part of the story ends with a CT control-room-ful of EM and Neuro docs anxiously watching successive slices of brain imaging come across a monitor screen, like really shitty cards being dealt, and going "arrrgh" in unison. That's just never a good thing.

One resident commented, later, that the systemic kind of bad luck is the kind that can sometimes really screw a patient. Hospitals with sprawling residency programs training new doctors, and with med students rotating through, sometimes get scoffed at. Sometimes the scoffing comes by way of well-fed, comfortable small-town docs who work in hospitals with fewer than 50 beds, and sometimes by way of their patients. But it's a fact that some poor schmuck intern who has to come see you at 11pm, then 1am, then 3am could be the one to notice something that, if noticed soon enough, might not kill you. Food for thought. And when the day comes when I'm that poor schmuck, I guess I've learned a little something about being glad I'm there.

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