Friday, August 31, 2007

Getting things done at PMH

It takes so long to get anything done here at Princess Marina Hospital – and people think HUP is bad sometimes. I’ve been asking for a portable chest x-ray for this guy with a pneumothorax since last weekend, and it still hasn’t been done. I can’t personally wheel him down to x-ray myself because, one, he’s on suction, and two, he’s on oxygen, and although we have one oxygen tank here in the ward, nobody has been able to find the valve that fits it. So I’ve personally gone to the radiology department every day, sometimes twice a day, and begged and pleaded for them to take their one portable x-ray machine down to the male medical wards, and take this guy’s chest x-ray. Half the time, the person who is in charge of portable x-rays isn’t there. Of course, all the people I talk to are radiology technicians, and they could all help me out, but none of them are officially in charge of the portable machine for the day. Then the other half of the time I finally find the person doing portables for the day, and he says, there was no request form (which is a crock – I’ve turned in like 5 request forms, some personally to the technicians), and I turn one in then and there because I’ve anticipated this, and he looks put out, and says, ok ok, I’ll do it this afternoon. I usually say something like, well can we do it now, because this patient is somewhat critical, and I can help you wheel things down and everything. And they always say no, they’ll do it this afternoon. Sigh.

Finally today, we took him off suction, and he was doing ok. He’d been off suction before, but never was stable for long enough for me to wheel him down to x-ray. And I also managed to find the valve for the oxygen tank – it leaks, but at least the patient can get some oxygen. So I pushed him quickly down to x-ray, and we took the film, and hurried and wheeled him back before anything bad happened to him. Thank goodness he didn’t crash or anything. I was patting myself on the back for going to all this effort to get a simple x-ray when I took a look at it. He’s now got bilateral pneumothoraces, and probably has a bronchopulmonary fistula – that’s a direct connection between the inside of your lung, and your chest cavity. Even in the states, that’s very very bad, and many patients don’t do so well. He’s probably not going to survive, which really sucks. I totally thought he was going to pull through.

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