The enemy of the free world

The enemy of the free world

Thanks to the many state, federal and private regulatory bodies and the activities of their devoted employees, I have beenrecently reminded of the absolutely terrifying workplace in which I ply my profession.  Kudos to you, clip-board carrying men and women!  You stalk the hospitals, enjoy your lunches, fill out your forms and year after year find more reasons you should be looking over my shoulder!  I can’t say you increase our efficiency, but I can say you dress nice!

What, perchance, am I ranting about?  Well, in the last two weeks I have learned that:

Our nurse manager should address the perilous boxes of printer toner that sit under a cabinet, safely out of the way of everything.  Why?  ‘They need to be sitting on a piece of plywood, or soemthing like that, off the floor!’  Thank heaven’s I didn’t realize how dangerous it was!  I mean, for years I’ve walked past that toner, sitting on the floor, perched like a Cobra waiting to strike!  With the addition of some administrative oversight, and a little bit of plywood, we can all be assured of our safety once more.  Go back to your lives, citizens!  The toner is on plywood!  Everything is under control!  But wait, what’s the plywood sitting on?  What’s that?  The floor?  Then, shouldn’t the plywood be sitting on plywood?  Quite the Gordian Knot, isn’t it?

Next, I learned that when I ordered that Ketamine to help me intubate the vast specimen of humanity thrashing and gasping in front of me, I couldn’t.  ‘We’ll get in trouble if we push it,’ the nurse informed me.  Makes sense, I suppose.  Ketamine, after all, doesn’t suppress your respirations or cause decreases in blood pressure.  So, we gave a vastly safer drug; Succinylcholine, which paralyzes all of your muscles for 5 minutes.  That sounds much safer, doesn’t it, kids?  Of course, the nurses can also push thrombolytic drugs for MI and stroke that migth leave you bleeding out of every orifice, and into your brain.  Or Insulin, that could make your blood sugar plummet to a very functional level of ‘zero.’  Thank heaven’s, no Ketamine!  We’re still safe!  Thanks to all of the clip-board artists who made that decision, without ever thinking at all.

And finally, best of all, I was informed that if I draw a vial of local anesthetic while doing a lumbar puncture, and if the lumbar puncture tray subsequently has Betadine on it (the brown, Iodine based antibacterial solution we use in hospitals), then I have to label both the vial and the Betadine, or get rid of one of them.  Clearly, I’m such an idiot that I can’t tell them apart.  Why, just last week I started to inject Betadine into someone’s spine, until someone said, ‘hey, that’s labeled Betadine, you can’t do that!’  Duh!  I felt like such a loser!  All of this, I suppose, has to do with the injunction by an administrator who was explaining the ‘time-out.’  ‘It’s all so we’ll just take a minute and think!’  Guess what?  I think all the time.  I get paid to think.  I have to think.  And I do it sans clipboard.  I do it at all hours of the day and night.

How about this?  Label every pen on your desk, oh watchers of the rule-book, oh wizards of the regulation!  And let me set some safety protocols for how you’ll use your desk and computer, and how you’ll attend meetings; what clothes you’ll wear and how long you’ll pause before you do the thing you’ve been doing just fine until I came along!

Someone show my why Ketamine is more dangerous than anything else.  Somebody show me why things on plywood are safer than things on the floor.  And somebody please explain to me how many people have been harmed by inadvertant injection of Betadine during a lumbar puncture.

And then, tell me how many clip-boards it takes to make medicine more efficient.

Edwin

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