What to do when the Doctor wont call back?? - page 2

by sleepdeprived1

5,830 Views | 14 Comments

As a new nurse I never thought that I would have a problem with a Doctor returning my page, Boy! Was I wrong! I had a patient with a history of seizures with current multiple acute medical conditions and had grand mal seizure x 4... Read More


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    Where I used to work, we would call whoever was on call for that specialty for the night. Depending on the severity and urgency of the situation, I might page again 2-3 times, and like others have said, document each time you have them paged. If after several attempts I still dont hear back, I would call the on-call resident.
    I had something like what you described happen to me. The docs started playing patient hot-potato. Specialist would not take charge of the patient because he was made aware of the transfer at 10:05pm (cut-off was 10:00), and ER doc said the patient wasnt his responsibility anymore. We finally managed to get the ER doc to put his boy boy briefs on and keep him on charge until the next morning. But that is part of our job, to advocate for our patients so they get the best possible care.
    Oh, and dont be afraid of the attitude they will give you. In the end, if you were doing what was in your patients best interests, and if you followed P&P for your facility, you will win and they will look like spoiled children.
    sharonp30 and anotherone like this.
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    i work in a teaching hospital. first i page the intern, r2 , r3 never got to attending on night shift. sometimes the 1st dr is busy in another emergency. so then i might overhead page that medicine or surgery team. that will bring alot kf drs out of the woodwork. another reason i dont want to work any where aside from a teaching hospital or a place with in house coverage
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    The OP got some good advice here. I once worked in a small rural hospital with one surgeon and no alternative coverage. So when the postop pt. has a kidney stone, which blocks her pee, reducing volume, and she feels pain through an epidural, well of course you gotta call the doc. Now by this time the powers that be had noticed this surgeon's tendency to not have coverage and so they made him have an internist on every case. So he doesn't call back, so I call internist. She gives orders for lab work and xray but says please keep trying the surgeon, clearly he needs to do something.

    Nothing. All this calling back and forth is documented. Finally I went up the chain and called the medical director of the facility. He listened, ordered pain med (god bless his heart!!) and told me to call the police to go wake this dude up. Oh yes I enjoyed doing that. When the drunk, sleepy surgeon got woke up and finally called me, he was livid. He screamed, "are you crazy?" I said "oh yes" and went on with what was wrong with the patient.

    It's funny the narcissism of some folks. He was put out; nevermind 3 hours of phone calls and in that place, in order to call a doc after ten pm, you gotta ask the supervisor. So the amount of calling and documenting and making excuses to the very sick, hurting patient, and generally running my butt off accomplishing NOTHING, was not fun but HE was livid. Pfft.
    sharonp30 likes this.
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    Oh, Indy, I loved that one, I needed that laugh, he so deserved it. Now for you, sleepdeprived1, I keep a clip board with me and note book paper to keep notes, such as, every time I have to keep calling the blessed (I am being nice) MD who is not returning my pages. I am also just nasty enough to write in quotes what he says when he is being a jerk (yah, I wanted to use another word). Because the person before me who said that he will be the first one to throw you under the bus is right, he will and you have to protect yourself. Make sure you let your supervisor know that a doctor is not returning your calls because she can also help with the calls, not that it will make the MD call back sooner, but it help free you up to do your work. If you are working in an area other than a hospital then you need to just call 911 and send the person out. I always say,"if in doubt, send them out." It is better to be safe than sorry, what is the worst that can happen? The patient is sent back after being assessed in the ER, but you still will have your license at the end of the shift. You do not need a doctor's order to send someone out to the ER. Good luck in nursing, I am glad we have new nurses coming in so that I can retire one of these days.
    sharonp30 likes this.
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    Document each call/attempted call and make sure you leave a message if they don't answer. If it is the on-call MD I am trying to get ahold of but can't, I notify the nursing supervisor if I need to speak to them promptly. We have also notified security who will go look for the MDs...they know where to look because they know where the on-calls sleep. If a code blue is called, an ER physician will always come up to assess the patient/run the code/intubate if needed until the attending MD shows up.


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