Monday, October 12, 2009

Karma's A Bitch

An elderly woman lies strapped to a bed in the emergency room. She's taken a fall at her house and has severe injuries to her face and head. She is alone in the room; tubes and monitor wires run out from underneath the sheet that is supposed to keep her warm. The monitor glows green with her "numbers", and the 1,000 cc bag of normal saline has almost run it's course.

In her loneliness she cries out in pain, begging God, or anyone for that matter, to help her. Tears run down her cheeks. The neck collar prevents her head from moving but her aged eyes move back and forth searching for someone that can alleviate her pain. Moans turn into screams...desperation and agony set in.

I asked the nurse if we couldn't give the elderly lady something to make her more comfortable. Through the backdrop of screams the indignant nurse informs me that "She's 90-something years old, she doesn't feel any pain", and makes her way to another room. Huh?

I walked into the Doctor's Lounge and found the attending physician. "I'm giving the lady in Room 6 five of morphine". The doctor looked up from what he was reading, "OK".

I demanded the morphine from the same nurse, invoking the physician's orders and soon the patient was blissfully asleep.

I've run into this grotesque attitude before from nurses, physicians, paramedics, and all other manner of heath care "professionals"; that of compassion equates to weakness and inexperience. Many try to pretend that they are so endowed with medical knowledge and experience that only they can recognize the true medical emergencies worthy of their limited compassion. All others are pushed to the curb, compassion be damned. Karma's a bitch!


T said...

Um... wow.

Well, as the granddaughter of a 95 year old lady who recently passed, thank you for your compassion. Thankfully, she finished her days in a place where they adored her. The nurses even adopted her as their own honorary grandma and came to her funeral as well.

What a moment. Thank you for sharing.

lorraine said...

I'm a RN with the "weakness" of compassion and am fortunate to be the charge nurse so can just do what I feel is necessary. May that nurse live to 90 and find out that at 90 you don't feel pain??? As T said thank you for your compassion. I am so surprised that nurses have the attitude they do. Pain is what the patient says it is - period. Thanks for what all you are doing. lorraine

Anonymous said...

thank you for your compassion. my mother was fortunate enough to have people around her in the end that were caring....there were days though that it was exhausting to get her the care she needed and deserved.

Anonymous said...

Some people have no business doing what they do, no matter how "qualified" they are. Thank you for your compassion. There's a need for more like you.

Zen said...