Once, there was this doctor, whom I shall call Dr. Snake. He is like whatchacall the heritage statueÂ in a large hospital. My son was under the care of another specialist, who specialised in things Dr. Snake doesn’t, though Dr. Snake has airs about his superiority. “I ate salt more than you” kinda thing.
So, one day the regular doc had to make a trip for a medical convention for 3 days. He explained to me that he had booked the conference months ago and hence, he couldn’t cancel the trip eventhough he wanted to stay back because my son was just intubated (put on machine assisted breathing) for a few days and was adjusting.
Before this, I was already aware of the goings on. Like which patient survived, which didn’t. Which patient was this fler, which was that etc etc. As a caregiver, I like to snoop about because I want to be sure that my son was getting the best care from the best guy.
It was a Sunday and there were lot of visitors hanging around the ICU lobby. Every one of them sitting there, looking bored. I just arrived and the moment, I stepped into the ICU lobby, Dr. Snake was just out of the ICU, having checked my son.
In his loudest voice, which can be heard by everyone, waving his stethoscope, standing akimbo, with his hand waving the stetescope, he said,
“I don’t know why you are allowing this little guy (my son) to die like this. Do you know ha? His heart can give up any minute? He is like running a marathon. Why didn’t the young man (my other doc) put him on viagra?”
As I said, I had almost lived in the hospital for that 5 months so I know Dr. Snake’s zany way of talking. Sometimes, he would shouted at his nurses with precriptions from one end of the corridor to the other end or cussed parents for their stupidity etc.
(Viagra is used for mountain climbers to help their lungs open up to absorb more oxygen. It worked for one premature baby before but these are just trials when other methods can’t work anymore. It is not proven yet.)
I took a deep breath and put on my smartest face and retorted to him, “Well, both Dr. C and Dr. D (a paediatric cardiologist from another hospital) feel it is not necessary at this stage. They gave Vincent an echo (or whatever the testis) and his pulmonary hypertension bla bla left ventricle bla bla pressure” (I have forgotten most of the medical lingo by now but very well versed last time.)
Dr. Snake got more animated, “What? Didn’t you know that the young man (yeah, Dr. Snake is very disrepectful) and Dr. D once gave the most convincing presentation during some doctors’ conference about the effectiveness of viagra?”
I got pissed and after more debate, to the amusement of the busy bodies listening in, I challenged Dr. Snake.
“OK, I sign the permission now, you go and start it if you say Vincent is not going to pull through this weekend.”
Well, he dare not. And weeks passed by and finally Vincent was given a trial of viagra but it didn’t work for him.
Then, Vincent’s regular doc has to make another trip. This time, both he and I were well aware of Dr. Snake’s snakey way. Of course, I did carry tales back to the regular doctor about the matter that transpired between Dr. Snake and I over the viagra matter.
One night, Dr. Snake came in late for his regular round. Patients in the ICU get three trips from the doctor everyday. There was this nurse politics whereby some nurses ‘belong’ to this doctor and some to another. It was more like loyalty camps. I stood by, pretending to be dumb to the going ons and to their doctor/nurse talks. What they did not know is by now, I know the administration works like which chart to fill in, which cabinets to file and what forms to use, what to observe on the patient, which stats to look out for etc. I can even predict what the doctors will write in the observation chart.
This time, Dr. Snake took the upper-hand of asking the nurse to administer a double dose of viagra on Vincent. But he signalled to this nurse not to enter the prescription in Vincent’s chart. However, the nurse must write down what she took from another chart in their nurse station.
I kept quiet and pretend not to know. When the other doctor came back, I told him and true enough, he cannot find the dose being given to my son in his charts. Well, I joked that if I am in the States, I can sue Dr. Snake until his pants dropped.Â First for traumatising me with all sort of news and second for illegal prescription of drugs.
The only thing that results from these incidents are the revealation that I can no longer trust the word ‘doctor’.