“A 4 month old child had been vomiting for days and then became listless. . . . Making things worse, the staff could not get anything right. No one could get an IV and after the seizure they gave the wrong dose of medicine that I ordered and when I wanted to get set up to place the child on a vent it was a bloody nightmare;wrong tube size, wrong laryngoscope, no suction, no monitor leads. The last straw was when I wanted to move the child to the OR quickly. I couldn’t get anyone to help. Clearly this was the most critically ill patient in the ER and everyone seemed to be just sitting on their hands.”
“I cannot candy-coat in hindsight my reaction to the events; I flew into a chart throwing, nurse berating, cursing like a LPGA pro, rage.”
He goes on in “part two” to tell how a kind security guard shared a meal with him, and explained that the nurses hated to work with the young doctor because of his poor attitude:
“[But] ya know Doc, I hate to be the one to tell ya, but ya were a real jackass down there in the ER. . . . Down in the ER with that sick baby, ya made a total jackass out of yasself…. and I know you don’t want to hear it anymore than I feel like tellin ya… but the fact is that the nurses complain about ya being a real jackass to deal with all the time. Hell, I get tired a hearin it.”
Although we hate to admit it, this happens to everyone at one time or another. The question is, do we listen and try to learn and change, or do we become angry and attempt to make excuses to justify our behavior? Even comments made clearly out of malice often have a thread of truth in them; if we don’t take them personally, we can learn valuable lessons.
“Doc, listen… I know how things work around here. I been here a looong time. It is not about the patient, it is about YOU. If they hate YOU then your patient is going to suffer and honestly, I like ya Doc, that is why I am telling you this… ya need to straighten your ass out or they will eat ya alive.”
Trenchdoc listened to the security guard and changed his behavior in the emergency department:
“’I’m sorry if I had to be so honest with ya… but I know ya have come along way working your way through school and all and I know that ya didn’t walk away from the cotton mill just to be some jackass intern, did ya?’
“I was finally able to utter a word, ‘no sir, I sure didn’t’.”
“‘Good, you need to try them maters, put some salt on ‘em.’, and then he quickly turned the conversation to fishing or something, at this point it is difficult to recall exactly.”
“Good tomatoes, but after 10 years I mainly try to remember the crow.”
When was the last time someone criticized your behavior? Was it justified? How did you respond to the criticism?