Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yes ma'am I really am a doctor.

I was doing my penance in the pre-assessment clinic today.  A patient came in who was booked for a stone removal at the end of the week.  I introduced myself as Dr. BH from anaesthesia.

"Oh," she said, "you're just anaesthesia, I thought I was going to see a doctor."

"Actually", I said, "I am a doctor."  And what little bedside manner I have evaporated.  It was a frosty visit.

This is of course a problem in the US where nurses can give anaesthesia as my blogging colleague Great Zs has pointed out. 

I also loved the scene in "Deadwood" where a lady had to have a D+C for her miscarriage and one of the prostitutes, Trixie administered the ether.  This is a picture of her relaxing in the OR lounge after a tough case.

In Canada and in most of the British Commonwealth, anaesthesia has been the exclusive purview of physicians since the 19th century.  This didn't however stop our hospital from recently trying to buy an information pamphlet on surgery, which informed the patient that their anaesthesiologist could be a physician or a nurse.  I pointed out the flaw and I hope it disappeared.

I should be used to this now, I have been in the business for 24 years, not counting residency.  Sometimes I can even joke about it.  Like the time a patient in the OR about to go to sleep asked me if I had to go to medical school.  "No just Grade 11," I said, injecting the propofol.

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