Recently, I worked a short stint in Acute Receiving in the hospital I was placed at. It was great “fun”, in as much you can have fun on a ward, but hell, my joy is in my work or else I wouldn’t be working towards being a doctor.
I got plenty experience doing bloods and venflons, and overall worked out just how things “work” on receiving, from clerk in to initial bloods to forward planning and consultant review etc.
But I happened to clerk in a man in early middle age, experiencing chest pain. No history to speak of, previous hypertension controlled well on ACE inhibitors.
I don’t want to speak too much about the details, the more anonymity for the poor gent the better. What I will say is for his symptoms and results of initial investigations, he was managed perfectly to guidelines, to the letter, by the entire team.
His chest pain cleared but he was kept in over the weekend just to keep an eye. He subsequently “crashed”, and despite the teams best efforts, he passed away.
This isn’t the first time a patient that I’ve worked with has died, but it’s the most I’ve been “involved” in a patients care who has subsequently went on to die, especially such a young man, and, admittedly despite only knowing him a few days, I had a good chat with him every morning whilst he was in.
There’s not really a day in the last couple of weeks I’ve not thought about him, or what happened.
The junior doctor who was seeing to his care, who I work with, found me as soon as she could to let me know what had happened, and I know I’m not the only one shaken up by the whole. Responses have varied from, “It’s awful but these things happen”, to “You can’t save them all…but this one’s certainly unusual”, to just general shock.
And in general, my best friends, my friends I see the most, aren’t in the medical profession, and as much as I see this as a massive plus, normally, I feel like I bring down the mood when I need to talk these things.
It can’t be easy to relate, I guess.
Moreover, I mentioned fun earlier. Because training as a Doctor, and getting to do all these things we’ve only trained on dummies on in previous years, is fun. You can get caught up in the learning experience and sometimes even forget that some of these people are horrendously ill.
One of the worst moments is being sent to take bloods etc from a patient, chatting away to them and they’re absolutely lovely. Because then, out of curiosity, you ask the juniors what their diagnosis is, and the answer is usually something you really didn’t want to hear.
And so it goes.
Sorry about the rant, friends. It’s just been on of those fortnights. Hope you all understand.