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Posts Tagged ‘stupidity’

As I was entering the surgical center where I do cataract surgery, I was greeted by a sign on the door to the locker room . . .

rules

If you follow my blog with any regularity–or my new sister blog, The Silence Dunwell Letters–you know that I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to arbitrary regulations–rules that seem to be in place only to justify someone’s job–proof that they are doing their job, even if it isn’t very well.

So apparently these rules are designed for VENDORS.  I’ve always known them as sales reps, but tomato, to-mah-to.  Vendors makes me think they’re selling hot dogs or drinks.

dr-pepper-vendor

SO CLOSE!  Red Cap, but not BOUFFANT!

Red Bouffant Cap.  I’ll come back to that.  You know that I will.

Badge clearly visible.  Good rule.  No problem with that.

Current with requirements.  I have to maintain my license.  I don’t have a problem with everyone else in the operating room maintaining their credentials.

Long sleeve warm-up jacket?  What about summer time?  Is it possible the coach may want to put you in the game, so you better keep your arm warm?  There may be a good reason to require this, but I have FAILED to come up with any remotely logical reason to make this a requirement.  Leave me a comment if you think of something.

NO UNDERSHIRTS.  Seriously?  How will you know if they are wearing one under the already mandated LONG SLEEVE WARM-UP JACKET?  Are you [bleeping] kidding me?  Who’s going to inspect for this?  Do they have to undergo strip searches for illegal under garments?  Can anyone show me a medical study that even remotely suggests that the undershirts of non-operating personnel worn underneath an official warm-up jacket have been shown to increase the surgical infection rate?  Anyone?  McFly?  We are just a few sieg heils away from regulating the type of socks and underwear we use.  Oh wait, I think they do regulate the type and color of socks and shoes of the nursing personnel.

UPMC stands for U People Must Comply.  We will wear only their scrubs and have no other scrubs before thee.  We are the Stepford Doctors.

Shoe covers?  Not a problem for me.  As long as I can wear whatever shoes I want underneath.

And no problem with requiring that visits be scheduled.  We don’t want the operating room to resemble a flea market or bazaar.

But . . .

redcap

What in the wide, wide, world of medicine prompted this fashion faux pas?  I searched high and low but couldn’t find the big red noses or the clown shoes to go with them.  What are they vending?  Happy Meals?

I will assume–always an unwise thing to do, but this is my blog dammit–that they want these “people” to be readily visible.  Mission accomplished.  You could pick them out from a satellite image.  I guess the ID badges are simply not enough.

Seriously, is this necessary?  For the record, we never had RED CAPS before, so now we are spending health care dollars on this fabulous headwear.  (Hashtag #whyamericanmedicineisgoingtohellinahandbasket)

In all my years as a surgeon, I have never had an instance where there was someone in my operating room that I did not know, or was not introduced to (such as a nursing student, inspector, repairman, etc.)  And if there was someone in my room and I do not know why they are there— I ASK WHO THEY ARE AND WHY THEY ARE THERE.

I don’t depend on the color and coordination of their outfit to satisfy my curiosity.

Because any idiot can put on a red cap.  I did.  I wore that thing all day!  I’m operating and I’m vending!  Oh, I’m vending, Jerry.  I’m vending!  And I hear that UPMC allowed a VENDOR to perform surgery!  (Psst.  It was just me.  In the red hat.  Don’t tell.)

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Apparently there is a regulation that healthcare workers wear an ID tag.  It is not clear whether this is to ensure the safety of the public, remind absent-minded workers who they are, or protect the innocent.

For 23 years, I have performed eye surgery at a number of hospitals and locations.  I have NEVER worn an ID badge at any point while operating.

For one thing, we wear sterile hospital gowns over our scrubs, which would cover any name badge.

For another thing, I do not operate on patients I don’t know or have never met.  I certainly wouldn’t want someone I have never met to operate on me.  All my patients have seen me at least once in my office before any surgery is scheduled.  They KNOW me.  Badge or no badge.

The staff I work with knows me.  I have operated there since 2003.  Sure, there are new people hired now and then.  They get to know me.  No badge required for that little exchange of information.  Some may regret meeting me, but that’s another story altogether.

So while this well-meaning regulation may have some use in certain situations–I fully understand that a patient or family member in a hospital setting might be interested to know who is coming into their room and for what reason–is this person a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant, a respiratory therapist, or a janitor, or is it someone who just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night?  I still think simply asking if you are curious would be sufficient, but no one asked me.

But there is no legitimate reason on God’s good earth, why I should wear an ID badge while operating at an institution that knows me, with people who know me, on patients who know me.  And for crying out loud, they have cataracts!  They couldn’t read the name tag anyway!

slapstupid

But today, the Board of Health (Bom, bom bommm!) came to our tagless institution for the supposed purpose of evaluating and certifying the place.  Basically this means they want to make sure that we are following their rules, even if those rules interfere with basic patient care.  None of this regulatory crap has anything to do with “patient care” anymore than Obamacare has anything to do with patient care (whereas it has everything to do with the government controlling your healthcare for better or worse, but again, that is a story for another day.)

But as I prepared to give patients the gift of sight today, I was accosted by a supervisor at our surgery center who insisted that I wear an ID tag–because the Board of Health (Bom, bom bommm!) is coming.

“Did we check the lights in the old north church?”

One if by land, and two if by sea.

The Board of Health is coming!  The Board of Health is coming!  (Bom, bom bommm!)

IDtag

Seriously?  Are you freaking kidding me?

And this serves what purpose in the treatment of my patients today????

The healthcare system in this country is sinking, and apparently the Board of Health is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I was not the only doctor wearing these make shift labels today–we all were.  Misery stupidity loves company.  None of us routinely wear ID badges. WE DON’T NEED THEM.  Doesn’t improve patient care.  And what’s to keep some criminal on the street from stealing a pair of scrubs and using a Sharpie pen to make his/her own name tag?

BTW–the Penn State badge is there because I am not allowed to wear my PSU scrubs anymore–only hospital issue uniforms.  Another brilliant regulation dreamed up by someone who doesn’t have a real job, doesn’t do my job, but knows they can do my job better, and has to justify their existence on this planet by enforcing said regulation.  The PSU badge does improve patient care–it makes me a happy doctor to wear it, and happy surgeons are BETTER surgeons.  Trust me on that one.  (Really, would you want someone unhappy to be putting sharp objects in your EYE!)

At least after I was done pounding my head against a wall in frustration, I could look down and remember who I was!

 

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Maybe this isn’t worth ranting about.

Maybe you’ve never thought about it.

Maybe you don’t care.

Damn it, Jim, I’m just a doctor.  I have a blog to write here.

I don’t know when it started, or if it has always been that way, but every time you go to a sporting event where the national anthem is played, the announcer asks you to please rise and remove your hats.  I think they used to ask you to please rise for the playing and/or singing of our national anthem.  That’s okay–let me know it’s coming so I can be ready.  But when did it become necessary to remind us to take off our hats?

Do we really need to be instructed on how to behave for our national anthem?

I honestly don’t remember people announcing this years ago.  Maybe I didn’t listen.  Maybe I didn’t care.  Maybe I wasn’t even wearing a hat because back then . . . I HAD HAIR.

I swear this is a relatively recent phenomenon.  I recall being at a Penn State game a number of years ago and hearing this for what I think was the first time, and thinking to myself, ‘do we really need to be told how to do this?’  It almost seemed embarrassing that we needed to tell our fans how to do this.  I mean, at some point, kindergarten or grade school, you are taught these kinds of things, along with praying in school, saying the pledge of allegiance and holding your hand over your heart.  At some point, you needed to learn where your heart is.  But I don’t think they teach anatomy until junior high or high school.

It’s not that I have a problem saluting our nation or showing respect.  I think that’s very important.  I take my hat off.  And I would do so even if I was not instructed to do so.    That is not the point.  We shouldn’t need to be told how to do this.  The point is, have we reached a point in our society where we have to point these things out?

Apparently, we do.

According to some of the warnings on this blog, a jar of peanuts may contain nuts.  A roll of life savers is not for use as a flotation device.  A hair dryer cautions us not to use in the shower or while sleeping.  What if I’m dreaming of taking a shower and need to blow dry my hair?  A portable stroller instructs us to remove the child before folding.  So that’s what I was doing wrong!  No wonder I could never get it folded.  Of course, men never read directions anyway.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like being told how to honor my country.

I can and will do it for myself, thank you.

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