Monday, February 04, 2013

Seems my job definition just expanded.

The screaming was so loud that it brought me out of the room nearest the nurses' station with a "What the HELL?"

It was a toddler. I don't know jack about babies, except that they're generally wet at one end and loud at the other. This one was both. This one was open-mouthed, red-faced, screaming its little head off, in the arms of my flummoxed-looking coworker. He (the toddler, not my coworker) seemed to be about walking age, maybe a little younger; a cute kid, aside from that awful noise.

So we took him into one of the larger storage rooms and proceeded to play games like "What's on my head?" and "Can we shut you up with cookies?" Coworker dealt with the diaper while I went back to being a nurse.

After thirty minutes of nonstop hollering (poor kid was really upset), the child's father came back to get him. The child's father is an attending physician--not on the neurocritical care service, thank God--and had come in for morning rounds. His wife was out of town. Apparently babysitters do not exist.

Except in the neurocritical care unit! This is the fourth time in as many weeks that a male, attending physician has brought one or more children with him and left said child(ren) in our care for anything up to an hour. One dude dumped his kids off in the nurses' station break room around lunchtime with hasty instructions to "feed them something and keep them entertained."

I can't even. There are so many things to unpack here that have to take them in list form:

1. It's flu season. Children are, it's generally recognized, moving receptacles of bugs.

2. Hospitals are notoriously dirty places. Kids put everything in their mouths. Bad combination.

3. Nurses are not babysitters. We have things to do, even on weekends.

4. Bitches do not, universally, love babies.

5. Can you imagine what would happen if a resident brought in his or her kids?

6. Oh, God, if a female resident or attending brought in her kids, she'd never live it down.

7. Kids are noisy. It's part of being a kid. Units where stimulation is kept to a minimum is not a place where kids can or should be noisy.

8. You are old and experienced enough to know better.

9. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, BRINGING YOUR KID TO ROUNDS? It's not like rounds are a sudden, unforseen emergency. They happen every day at a given time. You have time to prepare, to have a plan A and a plan B and even a plan C, should that be necessary.

Thankfully, the charge nurse of the other CCU that shares our floor said something to the doc. Had I opened my mouth, I would've blasted him to a cinder and salted the charcoal. Still, we wrote him up--the only concrete action we can take when a physician does something so inappropriate.

If this were just one physician, or just one service, it'd be easier to handle. Instead, it's different guys at different times, which means it's a part of the hospital culture. That'll be fun to address.

So, guys, if you're thinking that it's a slow Saturday at Sunnydale General, and that nobody'll mind watching your child for however long you need 'em to, just don't.

Just. Don't.


messymimi said...

My sympathy.

It's nowhere near the same, but as a janitor, i've been expected to do the same.

People want to go to their meeting and leave the kids to make a huge mess, and have me watch them and clean it.

My job is general cleaning up after everyone, not tending your kids.

geena said...

When I worked at the hospital, docs (male and female) would sometimes bring their kids in on the weekends, but I never saw them bring in kids that weren't older and capable of entertaining themselves. Sometimes if they were on the young side, we'd fawn over them and give them juice and crackers, but they were always old enough to leave if we had to go do something.

Bringing in one that barely walks and can't be shut up with an electronic apparatus? No way.

Penny Mitchell said...

Why does God allow fertility in people this stupid?

Jennifer Thorson said...

Ugh, what is the matter with people? An eight year old with a book and a pocket game is one thing (I'm sure doctor's kids all have tablets now.) But just leaving a kid still in diapers with nurses, on a critical care floor no less?

So, so, so rude and stupid.

Kate the Great said...

A human being wearing incapable of controlling their bodily fluids and making loud indistinguishable noises are what they leave you with generally so a smaller version of that is not too far fetched in their minds. Child protective services? Neglect?

Anonymous said...

Id never have the balls to do it but I'd be tempted to call the social worker up to the floor to take a CPS report of an abandoned child. I just might call the house sup up saying "Doc Jones left his kid here...". A good house sup will make that stop.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he just assumed that the nurses wouldn't mind watching his crotchfruit because they are basically tiny versions of the patients often treated in the hospital? Since it seems to be the male doctors doing this, maybe they should put their brains together and hire a dependable babysitter or find a child-care service they all can use?

Unknown said...

Wow. Wow. Docs at my hospital would get blasted for doing this!

CR0w$C@lling said...

A letter to the medical director naming the offending MDs is in order

Anonymous said...

We have an OB doc that brings his kids up for the nursery nurses to watch while he's doing rounds. He leaves them in the nursery with fresh babies w/ no immune system!! When we complained to admin, they gave us the "Oh we'll look into that..." But because he brings in tons of pts which = $$, nothing has changed. We still babysit!

Vi said...

Wow. Was he at least very apologetic/grateful? Like cascading disasters brought him to this point and he knew it wasn't okay but was freaking out? Or was he just like, "Nurses! You get paid to take care of people, right? Baby is people! Take it maybe feed it something kthxbai!"?

Shelly said...

I'd start giving the kids a cup of coffee w/lots of cream and sugar while the doc was gone. "Well, doc, he was thirsty and said you let him drink coffee at home..." And place a very dangerous looking tool--or some sterile needles--in the hands of the kid right as the doctor walks in. You thought it would be an "educational" and the child wanted to be like daddy! Sheesh--good luck with this!

Anonymous said...

Oh, god. I am a childfree by choice veterinarian of the female persuasion. I don't like children. I have never changed a diaper in my life (at least not on a human) and I especially hate noisy children. This crosses all kinds of lines, and you're right, female physicians would be crucified for a stunt like this.

I'm glad you wrote him up. Document, document, document. I also like the idea of fueling the kid with a few cups of well-sugared coffee and maybe a donut or two, being careful to time the goodies so the kid pukes in the Mercedes and not on your watch.

Anonymous said...

I can still remember my civilian nursing career where attendings brought their children in mostly on weekends and let them run a muck in out SICU.

Thankfully, military docs wont even dream of doing such a thing.

NewGradNurse said...

You would think a physician would be smarter than that!

Eric said...

I would have fed him nothing but Kool Aid (with real sugar), some caffeinated beverage (like Jolt or Red Bull) and candy. Then let him watch cable TV :-)

Eric said...

Oh, and BEANS.... yes BEANS...