I had a new patient show up at the office the other day and my office nurse called me into the room quickly. She was concerned when he said that he was a diabetic and that he hadn't been feeling well for the last few days. As my trusty nurse knows to do, she got a glucose reading which said "hi". He also showed her a draining abdominal wound. His color was a a pasty greyish tone and he was slightly diaphoretic.
After obtaining a set of vitals, I told the nurse to prepare to make a call to EMS for transport to the local hospital for this patient. He asks why I think that he needs to be admitted and I proceed to explain the significance of "hi" on a glucose monitor and the likelihood that his sugar was at least 500 and was probably higher and that he needed IV antibiotics, fluids, and monitoring for a few days. With a grateful smile, he said okay. I left my nurse to monitor him and to give report to the EMS for me as I had several other patients that had been waiting.
After I finished with the patient, I asked my office nurse if the information was handed to the EMS and she was rather upset. She said that the female paramedic walked into the room and said "oh, it's you again to the patient." Excuse me? My nurse responded. The paramedic said," We've taken him to the hospital a few times and that the ER just releases him and tells him to find a primary." She asks the patient, "So, what's wrong with you now?" To which he replies, "I'm sorry to bother you again." The paramedic turns to my office nurse who proceeds to give report of a blood sugar of hi and that he has an infection that needs to be checked. The paramedic then proceeds to question whether our machine was right so she goes out to get their machine off the ambulance to recheck our work.
Well.....that just pissed in my office nurse's coffee.. Here's what she said, after of course, their monitor read hi too.
"First off, this man is a new patient to us and he is very ill. We don't care how many times that he's been taken to the hospital before, if my NP says he needs to be seen, then he goes." Second of all, turning to the patient, "you don't EVER have to apologize for being ill. You are here obtaining primary care from my NP and when you get out of the hospital, you come back and we'll see how you are doing and make a plan from there." She hands the EMT his packet of paperwork and tells the patient "here's your ticket to ride and it'll be okay."
Footnote: He was admitted with a blood sugar of 654 and was in for three days. He came back to the office for a follow up and states that he was feeling much better now. He thanked us profusely for my nurse making him feel important enough to take care of.
How sad is that? I was so angry that a patient was made to feel that they were a bother and that they weren't good enough to treat with common respect. Don't get me wrong, I get a little burned out by some of my difficult patients. You can better believe that they leave my office feeling like they are the only patients of mine to take care of because that's my job.
If you don't like your job, find another one. Just find another one that's not in health care.