* * Anonymous Doc

Monday, August 31, 2009

I passed one of my patients in the hall. He was on a stretcher, and his wife was wheeling him down the corridor. Alone. I did a double-take. "What's going on?"

"He had an MRI," the wife said.

"Yeah, I know. But where is he going, and why isn't there anyone with you?"

"Oh, they said the transport people were busy and asked if I could just take him to his room myself."

"Maybe I should go with you."

"Okay, that's good, because I'm not sure I know how to get all the way back."

This probably shouldn't happen. I'm no expert in the hospital rules and regulations, but I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea to have family members wheeling patients down the hall. You know, just in case something bad happens.

It's hard enough for me to wheel patients down the hall, because I still don't know where everything is, and I have this terrible fear that a patient's going to go into cardiac arrest and I'm not going to be able to find a phone or another doctor, or I won't be able to accurately explain to someone where I am-- and I'm going to inadvertently be responsible for someone dying on a stretcher in the hall.

But if I'm worried about my own ability to do this-- certainly I'm more competent to transport a patient than his wife is.

Part of me wants to call the MRI folks and follow up-- to ask, hey, did you really tell my patient's wife to take him back, alone. But part of me doesn't really want to know the answer.

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