BC Doc rage - page 2
I just got off work and I want to vomit. I had a woman in labor begging me for an epidural, crying screaming, etc. But tough for her because our anesthesiologists aren't doing any "unecessary"... Read More
May 29, '02Amen jurbyjunk!!!! Our docs are apparently the most militant (I am in the Interior health region), one even called the College of Pysicians a "hired gun for the Liberals" when they asked them to postpone the escalation of the job action to try to ensure patient safety. What pisses me off the most is that during our job action we were still ALL working FULL TIME and the union even granted OVERTIME when patients needed it, but everyone made it seem like we were out on the golf course for a month! Then when doctors actually refuse to see patients everyone goes "Awwww... you poor doctors...." GRRRRRR!!!!
May 30, '02Hi Fergus. You must be around Kelowna. I work in the Fraser Health Authority. As I wrote in my earlier missive, I'm currently on vacation. A working vacation, actually; one of 3 people manning a first aid station in the southwestern corner of Zimbabwe. For Oxfam. I'm visiting Plumtree School, Plumtree, Zim, at this very moment.
Our first aid station has no electricity, but we do have a gasoline powered generator. At night, we have "working candles" and kerosene lanterns to read/write by. The generator runs things like our old-fashioned sterilizer and our ham radio.
Working here is like taking a walk through the early days of modern nursing.
We have glass syringes, and a pumice stone to "sharpen" the needles. We take the syringe apart, soak the barrel in normal saline. The plunger is metal, with a cotton cording wrapped around it to give it thickness. Every few times, we have to unwrap the old cording, and rewrap with new. Then the whole works goes into this sterilizer, which resembles a toaster oven, everything gets boiled forever, then allowed to cool and then reassembled.
Solutions such as normal saline and rubbing alcohol all come in glass bottles. Glass thermometers soak in pans of alcohol.
Although we are supposed to have things like basic antibiotics, tetanus, etc., it appears that most of these things walk out the door. The consensus among the 3 of us is that it walks out with the "government guards", who are supposed to be guarding our compound.
At the moment, as well as the usual occupants, my bra cups contain meds (nestled in my cleavage, LOL) and exam gloves. Speaking of which, when we use a glove, we have to wash it, sterilize it in the sterilizer, turn it inside out, and wrap it in OR drape material. We only have so many, so we have to keep reusing them. When I come again, I'm going to bring BOXES of gloves, both sterile and un.
As I said, there are 3 of us manning this station. Paula, an RN from South Africa, Karen, a tropical med medical resident, and me. Karen has been here for about 4 months now. She's the one who winds up having to buy our own meds back on the black market.
Even things like ABD pads walk out the door. However, sanitary pads do not (guess guys don't know what to do with them). So, we use sanitary pads as ABD pads. LOL. Hey, it works well.
Today, Karen was out scrounging for medical supplies. As I said, we are a first aid station. This jeep drives up, people get out and this man gets carried into the station. Out here, people seem to solve interpersonal relationships with a machete. Anyway, someone had used a machete on this fellow, he had slash wounds on his legs, side of his head, and his left arm was hanging by a piece of skin.
Now, when I signed up to go to Zim, I was supposed to be doing newborn exams, mat-child, peds, that kind of thing. Paula is a medicine nurse. I'm not an ER nurse. However, I was at one time an OR nurse and I have spent 2 years of my life in a war zone in SE Asia.
Anyway, I finished amputating that arm. Fortunately, I am a firm believer in "have kelly, will travel". I actually came with 2 of my own, various sizes. Poured alcohol/providine iodine all over them, clamped off any bleeders that I could see and tied them off with "suture material" (cotton sewing thread, had been mending something, cut off the pieces and sterilized them lickety split - suture needle was my sewing needle). Sprinkled the amputated site with basilicum powder and covered it all up with sanitary pads and adhesive tape. We do have the old fashioned suture sets, with straight sewing needles and cotton thread, and Paula and I sewed the rest of this guy's lacerations up as best we could, peri-padded him, gave him a shot of tetanus and of penicillin and ham radioed to a safari lodge about 30 Kms away for their chopper to come take him into Bulawayo.
It's officially estimated that 20% of the Zim population have AIDS, 30 people die a day from it here. Unfortunately, I seem to be seeing those people in the kids that I see here. There mothers pass it along in utero.
Anyway, enough of the sad things.
It is fall here right now. No rain. Dry and temps range in the lower teens during the day, dropping at night. I actually sleep under a blanket. And mosquito netting. We have mosquito coils, skin lotion, etc.
Our soap/shampoo has kerosene in it to keep the m's away. So, here I am at Plumtree, for my weekly "shower/shampoo". Although we are fortunate to have "inside flushing sit-down" plumbing, there is no place to bathe at our station, other than the sink. Not a hope in hell would I go into a lake or river here, risking bilhazi or crocs.
Theroretically our water is supposed to be "safe" (according to the guards), but Karen drives in the 20 Kms to Plumtree School a couple of times a week and brings back bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, tea and the sterilizer. Any water out of the tap gets boiled to death by us before using. I've taken to downing large amounts of gingerbeer.
Fortunately, my Secret anti-perspirant takes a licking and keeps on ticking. All 3 of us are perfumed with eau de kerosene.
There is also a washing machine/dryer here at the school. Yes, yes, yes.
I was supposed to wear skirts (nice women do not wear pants), came with 3, decided to hell with it after 2 days, and have been wearing pants ever since. Frankly don't give a damn about what the guards think about it. I know what I think about them. Hansen should try running up against these guys.
While I'm here at the school, I have permission to use their internet. So, here I am.
Am due back to Vancouver on the 15th. Suspect will spend my last weekend before back to work alternating between sleeping in a real bed rather than a metal cot and soaking in the tub "dekerosening".
Gotta run and email my daughter to let her know am still alive.Last edit by jurbyjunk on May 30, '02
May 30, '02Me too. Good luck for the rest of your "vacation" and hope to hear more about it when your back!
Jun 29, '02Wow, all you folks have me teary eyed. I see that you must be very strong not only to deal with what is thrown at you but also to be able to do the right thing for your patients even when the Docs aren't. I am so proud of you.
Where I work, we must transfer alot of patients to the city so I get to work with alot of the nurses in the hospital. I see the hard work they do and it amazes me at how many times the nurse is telling the Doc. when to give the meds. and ask if he wants this done next or that done , (hint , to let them know what to do next). When we have to take a nurse and Dr. in the ambulance because of a critical care patient. The Dr. usually sits up front. He only comes so she can get permission to give the drugs she needs. She does all the work. Not all the Drs. are like this but most of them are.
I really enjoy my years working with the nurses. They are so willing to teach and help out when ever possible.
Jun 29, '02Notice on the cover of the "Journal" at the Safeway check-out stand, "Health Care Secrets from nurses .... underneath says, "that doctors won't tell you". LOL. Way to go, Journal.