Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A surgeon walks into a neurocritical care unit. . . .

Actually, he rolled in. On a stretcher. After a TIA. Transported by EMS from the airport. And it was, sadly, no joke.

There are surgeons nobody hears about, even if they've been working in the same place for twenty years. There are surgeons you only ever hear good things about. Then there are surgeons like Dr. Guts, about whom the most complimentary thing I've ever heard is, "Well, he's not quite Satan."

This is a man I once saw push a chart rack (remember those? Welded wire, meant to hold eight or so charts at once? Big, heavy three-inch plastic chart binders, full of paper, each weighing more than a couple of pounds?) over on to a unit secretary because he didn't like something that had just happened. Nothing having to do with the secretary. If she hadn't jerked out of the way, I think the weight might've broken both her forearms.

And here he was, in my unit. I should mention that Dr. Guts has quite the reputation for patching up people whose lower intestines have sustained damage of one sort or another. He's particularly good at reattaching colons to anuses.

Like attracts like.

The first words out of his mouth when I walked into his room were "GODDAMMIT! Why is this goddamned hospital so fucking disorganized??" I greeted him, introduced myself, and prepared to do a neuro exam.

"I was examined" he sneered--and I'd never actually seen anybody sneer before; I thought it only happened in books-- "by a qualified physician less than four hours ago. I do not wish to repeat the exam."

"Good" I said. "That's gonna save me a lot of time the next time I have to assess one of your patients."

He looked at me.

"Because an exam by a qualified physician means that exam will stay stable, right? Now, look right here at my nose."

He hated the food. He hated our MRI suites. He kept complaining that the hospital was disorganized--a hospital he helped found--and that everything in the world was wrong. He bitched about the doctors, the night nurses, the phlebotomists from the lab.

Finally, midway through his second (and last) day on the unit, I said, "Is it possible for you to be any less of an asshole? Just for a minute?"

His wife, sitting on the couch with a book, said, "She has a point, dear."

A week later he was back on the wrong side of the bedrail, this time for a cardiac problem. Thankfully, not in my unit.


15 comments:

Silliyak said...

CTD syndrome (Circling the Drain)?

Comrade Physioprof said...

You never revealed whether he learned anything about himself from being a patient. Or is it supposed to be obvious duh that no, he never learned jacke fucken dicke, and will go to his grave a delusional self-important dickewadde.

bobbie said...

Docs make the WORST patients!!! They just have NO clue...
Hugs to his wife...

PediNP said...

Back in the day when I was a staff RN on a peds unit, we once had a hospitalist whose ego was so bloated...anyways, when her son had a tonsillectomy, not only did she insist on an overnight stay for him on our unit, she told the manager exactly which nurses she wanted to care for him. Which they accommodated. Glad I wasn't one of the chosen...

Anonymous said...

Did anyone think that maybe he is just an unhappy human being and Knows no other way to express his unhappiness than to berate others?

Niecey said...

He's a surgeon, they are notorious for being assholes. In fact, I'm almost sure that it is a pre-req to med school! ;)

Anonymous said...

an obese vascular surgeon who thought he was god's gift to those needing triple A repair ended up with a dense hemi, trache & little hope of rehab after a massive stroke, at 53yo Karma bit him hard. We were all shocked here in Melb, Aus & thankful he was at St Elsewhere

Heidi said...

Jo, you rock my world. And may also get me fired.

JA-RN said...

What goes around, *does* come around. Two of the most hateful physicians I ever worked with, (both surgeons, by the way) ended up speechless & dependent on others. One with a massive stroke & the other with ca of the larynx.

RehabRN said...

jo:

You rock!

So sorry Dr. Hole didn't get hit with the disoriented or at best, dysarthric stick while he was down with his TIA.

Sounds like a chill pill is in order for him (or he's gonna blow a biggun next time)!

Crossing fingers that you don't get him again.

Laura said...

I can't decide if his wife is a saint, a masochist, or something else for staying with him.

memune said...

Time wounds all heels...

Alfreda Hindbaugh said...

He sounds perfectly horrid! And this line "Like attracts like" had me cackling!

Rebecca Sain said...

One of the general surgeons I used to work with, who thought he was God's gift to surgery, had a sudden 'bowel attack' while operating. He didn't make it to the men's room in time and had to go through the crowded staff lounge to change scrubs. Couldn't have happened to a better person.



Cecile said...

Gorgeous!