This was in response to several medical errors — most of them oversights when the details are examined — which contributed to the death of a child in hospital. I have no intention of going through the case here, which has been expertly picked over by a good many sources. Suffice to say that Hadiza was slung to the lions, the consultant in charge leaving her naked, her hospital, her trust, the regulatory bodies entrusted with safety of both doctors and patients, all turning their backs to leave her to her professional demise.
All for several decisions made when she was covering extra shifts, in a climate of heinous understaffing, and trying to manage a deluge of patients when she had just that day returned from maternity leave, unsupported and abandoned to her fate.
So much is baffling about this case and its horrific outcome. Nobody wants a child dead from misadventure. It is tragic beyond the reckoning. But for the regulatory bodies to kick back with the tendon strike and sacrifice an individual so? Is Hadiza supposed to be an example, like a spiked head at the entrance to the Thames? Unquestionably these decisions will serve to endanger patient safety in the future. Individual blame always does this, driving self-reflection and honesty underground. Hospital systems are almost incomprehensibly complex. Patient safety is paramount, but the infinite interactions that occur within them will likely always outfox the desire to provide foolproof polices and structures.
The outcome of this case is extreme, but so many of the occurrences are commonplace. Without any desire to misappropriate a worthy movement, is this another instance of MeToo? We inside the beast are always going to make mistakes. Most of them are small; oversights, errors of judgment, succumbing to biases, betrayal by the impossible circumstances in which we sometimes work.
Most picked up by the lumbering checks and balances designed to avoid them. No doctor ever wants to make mistakes. Doctors, for many reasons, are not very good at failing. I know what it feels like. I am on intimate terms with disgust. Mostly our punishment is a deafening, roaring monster within ourselves. And, if we are very, very lucky, we get a system that allows us to self-reflect, even better with some empathetic human support, and even better a respectful, inclusive way to analyse the system errors, which, almost always, are more contributory to any error than the part the individual played.
I wrote a novel about it. If perhaps a handful of people read the book, either medical, or not, and see into the heart of a doctor after failing a patient, then perhaps the six years of sentence struggling will be worth it.
November 21, Musings Comments 0 I come here far more often than I ought. Today I have this short, sighing reprieve, between teaching registrars in the morning and donning the top hat and whip to command the chaos of the circus until midnight smiles at me, telling me I can exhale and go home. So, like I frequently do, I have sidled into a mysterious corner among bookish shelves and musty journals and ghosts and flickering fluorescent lights.http://tulewyzonyny.cf
Step back, you're [chat]tin' kinda close
I am not joking about the ghost. She will, however, have to be the subject of a latter post. Libraries are my oasis, my nirvana, my refuge, my asylum.
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- Pump Handbook (Mechanical Engineering).
They are the tents in my desert on a warm autumn evening with mint tea and breeze and the smell of cinnamon and honey. I should, of course, be doing something sensible. But, and this may surprise some of you, I am not. My preference is to write a love letter. A missive of love, of admiration, of respect. The volunteer ladies at the lolly shop. Very good people. Doctors and nurses and physios and orderlies and social workers, all doing the right thing, caring for humanity and all its faces, giving of themselves, supporting others, and, once in the bluest of blue moons, saving a life.
But all of us have nothing on the volunteers. These ladies, for they are all ladies, turn up every, single day. They are never paid. Their roles are legion.
Take that, Singularity , they trundle through the wards with a trolley full of Dan Brown novels and magazines about crocheting and celebrity scandals, they answer any questions from the lost and weary and damned that limp though the corridors, and best of all, they man the lolly shop. It is a beauty beyond compare. It is benevolence in human form, altruism covered in skin. Goodness and munificence and bounty. I am buoyed every time I interact with these marvels. There is one who holds a special place in my heart. She stops me each time we cross paths.
She wants my help so that she can donate a kidney. I love her. I truly do. It is my destiny, she says. So many others have rich, worthy stories teeming under their creases and crinkles. And they have lives and families, overdue naps, movies to be seen, days left that may be so few they have numbers assigned to them, yet here they are, selling me snacks and sharing their light with this small world.
And, with this post, my time is up. My break is done, and my loins must be frantically girded, as I must brave the floor. Thank you LOLs. PS the image is my view right now. OK, a bit of a stretch to the lyrical flapping tent in the cool desert wind, but still. October 22, Medicine Comments 0 I may have been a little overwrought. So I resolve to address this.
Today we shall examine reasons why the lungs, if not winning first place in the organ stakes, at least get a solid participation certificate. The whole oxygenation thing. Plus the reverse removal of carbon dioxide. We get it.
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And yep, they do that half-assed, kind of flashy job with acid-base equilibrium not to harp on, but nothing on the kidneys. Compensation, buffering, yada yada.
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- Somewhere between writing and doctoring..
After all, who wants to be known as a work-horse when you can be avant-garde? I have a story about lungs. It is not very pleasant. I have previously written about the German student exchange I endured when I was My host family were not overly keen on having an exchange student, and they were quite fond of laughing at my expense. My linguistic skills were lamentable. I recalled ordering an item like pinning a tail, blindfolded, to a donkey. The family sniggered.
I was wary. The dish came out, gravy brown and chewy, like a tyre stewed for 3 days in a steaming bog. I persevered.
They laughed. Friends, lung is not a gourmet food. Allegedly respiration was first described by an Arab physician, Ibn al-Nafis, in In the first half of the 16th century, the role of the lungs was thought to be to cool the heat and rage of the heart. In the next century, William Harvey, that most sensible of chaps, finally started to work out what the dickens was going on with them.