Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Asking too much?
A Day in the Life
I couldn’t exactly chase them down the hall, but three times I asked the person taking the patient to surgery if he was going to ask the patient her name and birth date. Each time he said he knew who she was. I was in disbelief that given ample opportunities to follow proper procedure, this person, who never introduced himself and was transporting the patient to surgery opted not to ask the patient her name or birth date.
Later, as I wait the 3 hours during the surgery to hear from the doctor that the patient is fine and in recovery, I picture all the things I could have done; Refuse to allow the patient to leave? Stand between the patient’s bed and the elevator? Should I have screamed “HELP, HE DIDN’T ASK THE PATIENT HER NAME AND BIRTHDAY?”
The morning started early, we had to be at the hospital at 6:30. When I asked for antibacterial wipes to clean up the room, I knew I wasn’t going to win any new friends. The nurse hesitated – even told me the room was already cleaned. But, I explained, that the patient came from outside and was touching everything in there and it needed to be wiped. I was surprised at the black dirt that came up. I showed the nurse.
I was confident the surgery would go well – and it did. The staff at the hospital were friendly, answering questions, giving the patient appropriate time. The problems I am addressing are not, in my opinion a systems problem. It is people knowingly deciding not to do their job properly or to the best of their ability. Sure, the dirt in the room was from one chair (although in another room it was on the radiator and window ledge). Could someone have forgotten to clean it? Of course, but it shouldn’t be a pattern. Did someone forget to teach the transporter to ask the patients name and birth date? Probably not. Did they tell him about the people who have suffered through errors because of staff not following the rules to make an impact so it doesn’t happen again? Would anyone in charge allow any of this to happen to their family? I’m confident this staff doesn’t know what we know about patient safety. They need to know.