Posted by: loungekitten | September 21, 2009

The Milk Of Human Kindness

The well of that stuff ran dry in me yesterday at work.

  • To the woman who had a “child” as a patient in the ER:  please stop calling.  I’ve put your call through to their room several times and they’ve hung up on you.  Your child actually requested that no calls from any members of their family be put through to the room.  I know that you are the mother, but your 40-something-year-old child doesn’t want you “all up in their business” right now.  And they are perfectly within their rights to request that, being an adult and all.
  • To the guy who was “first on the scene of some accident” yesterday who called wanting to know how the accident victims were:  I can’t give you that information, it is a HIPPA violation. I understand the need to know you made a difference in these people’s lives, but you are a stranger to them.
  • To many, many, many family members of patients who come to our ER via ambulance:  if you are on your way to the hospital and will be there within 15 minutes, please do not call and tie up the phone lines giving us a detailed history of likes, dislikes, other special characteristics, etc.  And don’t ask how they are doing.  They just arrived, and the nurse is still working on getting them settled in their rooms and assessed, and you will likely get to the hospital before that process is finished.
  • To the woman who called asking whether she could have sea salt instead of table salt even though she was on a low-sodium diet:  NO!!! Sea salt also has sodium and that is your problem.  I paused not to reflect on whether you could make the sea salt substitution or not, but because I could not believe you would call and emergency room to get that information, as if we had nothing better to do.
  • To the person working the IV team this weekend:  We called because we had a patient with an acute heart problem and the nurses in the ER could not get an IV inserted in the patient.  And when we can’t get IV access, it’s a real problem.  We’re not like the floor nurses who can’t do IVs.  I appreciate that you are also busy, but the patient population you are working on is stable, and our patients may or may not be stable.  So your argument that our doctors should just insert a central line wasn’t very well received.  (If you go to the link, keep in mind that the complications are far more likely to occur with an emergency room procedure, and that doctors would need to justify why a central line was needed since it is a more costly procedure.  I’ve seen IV catheters inserted into jugular veins rather than inserting a central line.  And if you think that having an IV in the crook of your arm is a problem, imagine how much of a problem having one in your neck is!)
  • To the Spanish-speaking man who called:  I told you that there was no one that speaks Spanish in the Emergency Room yesterday, and that if you came into the hospital we could call a translator for you.  Then you continued on in some Spanish-English mixture, and the only conclusion I could draw from the “conversation” was that you were looking for Jose.  There was no Jose.  I’m sorry I couldn’t help you anymore than that, and I understand how you must be frantic looking for this person and wondering how they are.  I don’t have a good solution for you other than to say that you need to learn English.  I don’t like to just blurt that out as if I’m some unfeeling person.  I lived in an area that was heavily populated with residents that were of Hispanic origin and would only speak Spanish.  They were able to get by, but I don’t believe that you can expect to live in a country with a native tongue that differs from your own and not run into a problem eventually.  And one of those places would probably be the hospital emergency room, when you are having a serious problem.

Enough of that!  My mood may also be affected by something that is going on with a close family member.  I don’t want to go into details, but please keep me and my family in your thoughts.  I can explain in more detail on Wednesday night, if I end up going to the group this week.



  1. Knit for patience. My thoughts are with you. Take comfort in the fact you did the best you are able and continue to learn more so you can do more. That’s all anyone can ask or do really.

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