March 13, 2010
One of my least favorite patient populations: doctors.
This group knows just enough to be dangerous. They remember what they’ve learned in medical school, but they don’t know enough of the information that doesn’t encompass their specialty.
We had a patient who was a physician, and her husband was also a physician. When it came time for her epidural placement, she wanted an “attending only” placement (i.e. didn’t want a resident to place her epidural).
(Note: my hospital is a teaching hospital; there’s no question about it. Most large academic centers are run by residents.)
So, we go in to place her epidural and her husband refuses to leave the room.
(Note: it’s a policy at our hospital to have the husbands/significant others/partners, to leave the room and then come back when the epidural is placed — plenty of significant others have passed out…even when sitting in FRONT of the patient. Moral: don’t turn 1 patient into 2!).
He was interfering in every way possible. And because the staff know that this patient and her husband are physicians, they feel the need to change up their care by trying to do things different from routine. She got her epidural… by the staff. She’d been having late decels…so when she got the epidural, it was just a matter of time before going back for a cesarean section. The baby was known to have IUGR…it was delivered by C-section and went intubated to the NICU. The patient had various episodes of freakout (not uncommon on OB when you’re awake but being operated on) — as told to me by another resident who took care of her in the OR. The husband was walking around all over the place on the OB floor like he owned the place. Ugh, just b/c you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you get to prance around and receive “super special privileged” care over the normal population.
When it’s time for me to be the patient, you can bet that I won’t be anything like these people. Oh wait, I’ve already been the patient!