Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ally McBeal Moments

At 6 pm today, I almost shouted at a patient’s mother. The clinic was already close; I was writing my blog and trying to de-stress myself through writing when somebody knocked on the clinic’s door. I went to see who he was. She was a mother with her 4 year old son whom I have seen and diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Infection last Jan 29.

I asked what the problem was and she answered, “Papa-check up po.”

I couldn’t say a word and my only thought was screaming at the top of my lungs, “Are you fucking kidding me? It’s 6 pm!” But of course, it was only a thought.

What puzzles me is the fact that they live a block away from the Clinic, the boy has been coughing for past 5 days and they actually chose to go today, at 6pm? That it didn’t even cross their mind to seek consult with me at 7 am to 5 pm yesterday or even earlier today?

There are a lot of practices in the barrio that I have come to accept since I started being a doctor here last November. But this is one thing that I couldn’t deal, with grace. I don’t think I could ever. I always lose my temper with people who come at night for consultation when they’ve had all day to do just that. Their work in the farm is a priority and everything else comes second – yes, even their children’s lives.

As I have always said, I don’t mind being awakened in the middle of the night as long as it’s an emergency. It is part of our job to be on-call for emergencies. But a 5 day history of cough or 3 days history of fever doesn’t constitute an emergency and it gives enough room for consultation during decent hours. Decent meaning 8am to 5pm.

What I am asking and wishing for is some consideration of my time. That they think not only of their time, but my time too. I can’t help but feel insulted sometimes. It’s like they see their time as all important and MINE as dispensable.

I wish I could still scream my anger off.

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