Cognitive Medicine

Since returning from vacation, I have thouroughly enjoyed my week in the emergency department. What a refreshing change from some of my encounters over the past few months. However I had two encounters that soured my mood instantly over the past 2 days. One was a conversation with the on call radiologist who didn’t like the reason I gave for wanting to get an ultrasound (after hours the techs come in from home). She actually said to me, “the tech won’t think that’s an emergency.” She told me to ‘make up something’. ‘people make stuff up all the time to get studies,’ she told me. I was irate and told the attending what happened and his advice was “don’t play that game”. You’d think that all the hospital workers would be on the same side of trying to take care of people, but sometimes I feel like it’s the emergency department versus the world.

The only reason I share this story is because after getting off the phone with her, my mood was suddenly horrible. The dramatic change let me realize that it was a result of the personal interaction I”d just had, and not because we were busy (which we were) or because we had sick patients (which we did)…It was because I had taken personal offense at the radiologists comments when in truth, she was just having a bad day. Once I recognized that, I put teh interaction behind me and continued on my merry way.

A similar incident happened today when an lazy (but concerned) pediatrician sent us a patient by ambulance from 1 1/2 hours away because he thought it would buy time for social services and the police to investigate a potential case of child neglect. The whole case got dumped in my lap and the initial pediatrician was conveniently unavailable for me to get the whole story from. I was having a great day that turned into a nightmare. But having recognized yesterday’s change of mood as related to circumstance, I once again saw what was happening. I took care of the situation objectively, got the right folks involved and progressed happily to more life saving. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *