* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is it okay if I have homicidal thoughts about my patient who's having suicidal thoughts?

Because that would kind of solve both of our problems, right? If I kill him? He won't stop telling the nurses to page me. All day, every five minutes. I can't do anything for him. He's not physically ill, he's a psych patient. But there's no room on the psych floor, so he's my patient. And I don't want to be his doctor anymore.

Because I'm not a slave. Or a nurse's aide. I shouldn't be the one who has to stop examining someone with a real illness so I can go over to him and find out he only paged me because he needs more water. Or ice. Or he has an itch, and since they've used restraints to fasten him to the bed -- not my call -- he can't scratch it.

He wanted a fork, to eat his dinner, but I was told by the psych resident that he can't have a fork, because they're worried he's going to use it to hurt himself. Or others. Perhaps me. Maybe that would be a good thing. Maybe that would get him off my service.

Every five minutes. Fluff my pillows. Call my parents. Take away my meal tray. Give me back my meal tray. Do you have any magazines? Can you tell me what's on TV? My tooth hurts. I want to hang myself.

This is not a hotel, and I am neither a babysitter nor a psychiatrist. Yes, he needs help, I get it. It's not his fault. Still doesn't stop me from wanting to push him out the window.

And, somehow, he's able to convince the nurses that every time he needs something, they need to page me. He scares them much more than I do, apparently. Because they're fine ignoring me. Completely fine ignoring that I've told them twenty times that they should only page me regarding this patient if there is an actual medical emergency. I think he tells them he has actual medical emergencies. Can't breathe. Guess what? Can't breathe somehow turns into "feed me my Jello." One nurse said she thinks the patient has a crush on me. Great. That's just what I need.

Maybe I'll just give him that fork.


  1. Is there a chaplain you can call to come talk to this guy? Clearly he's feeling deprived of attention, maybe someone to talk to is what he really needs.

    Unless he's already driven them away already?

  2. Think about how the nurses feel, having to deal with this ALL DAY LONG!

  3. A REAL ILLNESS? Oh no you did NOT just say that. Mental illness IS real illness. Saying it's not is incredibly belittling to the people who live with mental illness every day. Maybe he should be treated by a psychiatrist instead of a physician--that doesn't mean you can belittle his actual, real, severe fucking illness.

    Not to mention that the body and mind are inextricably linked, and depression can lead to "real" (aka physical) problems, and vice versa.

  4. I think the way you feel is okay... it has its dark side but without dark we can not appreciate the light... without the light we can not fear the dark... so definitely ok and while i can agree that you have more important issues to deal with and diagnose, the poor kid just needs someone to read a book to him...