Silly Grins

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sweet and Sour

Regarding Dr. Mercy

Here was someone who wanted to talk. To say something. Perhaps ‘pass it along’ and let it be known. 

Had I known more about certain issues, maybe I could have asked a few more questions.

But I didn’t. Cause I hadn’t expected it.

(Steps into chamber and logs in)

You got a minute?

“My time is yours. Go ahead.”

I hadn’t expected to hear what I heard that day. For some reason, it has stuck with me. Though the memory is distant, words and images fading, the feeling… the feeling… it could have been yesterday. Because something still bothers me.

“Very good.”
Good? That’s the funny thing. I don’t know if it’s bad or good. I don’t know if it can even be judged as so. You see, odds are, I’ll never know what happened ‘after the fact’. All I’ve got is a feeling in my gut that may never go away and this hazy recollection…

A recollection. I witnessed his recollection about one of the best and brightest, coming from a mind that only needs to read something once for recall.  The Good Doctor mentioned how the remarkably sharp ‘intern’ or ‘resident’ had been doing the rounds with a senior staff member. Pretty routine stuff.

“Yes, I understand.”
One afternoon, while the head doctor is examining an eighty something patient for an annual physical, he gets called away for a moment. Before he steps out, he instructs his remarkably bright intern to wait.

Only, the aspiring resident doesn’t wait. He doesn’t wait and the eighty something year old man who would have normally been given a clean bill of health…he aspirates. Anyone with just a bit of experience in life, not just in the medical filed, anyone who has been around older folk know that past a certain age, things don’t always go down so well.

Could you be more specific?”
The barium got into his lungs. If that brilliant young man had only listened and not jumped the gun, that older guy wouldn’t be messed up. Never did get the details on how things turned out… only a look. A penetrating gaze. 

Time was up.

And I now find myself wondering what to do.

“Work hard. Prevent accidents.”


We all make mistakes.


  1. :( As a human being I feel bad for doctors. They have it hard and sometimes go under appreciated. As someone who has had a family member pass away prematurely due to a doctors negligence; I am still pissed at "them". Accidents happen but when you have lives on your hands you need to make sure that you go through great lengths to avoid making a mistake that can cost a life. And the docs 'round these parts need to lay off the coke.

    1. Thanks for the comment. And the warning.

      For doctors, I would most certainly not be here were it not for "them". For that, I am thankful. Yet, there have been exposure to folks similar to the kinds in your neck of the woods, exposure that leaves me doubtful. They are just men and women, like the rest of us.

      What concerns me are the warnings I've received regarding the unchecked 'professional' attitudes oozing a type of dismissive arrogance that can be quite lethal at times.

      I am not confident that if one of my family members or I were to experience negligence here that there would be any realistic hope of being able to influence the system for positive reform.

      The young man in this story was known for his 'brilliance' - I have no idea what kind of reprimands he received or what policy was in place to deal with such negligence. My guess is that he went on to practice. Hopefully a little wiser from the suffering he caused.

      At one point, I began to seriously wonder about dignity and ethics in the medical community here. When do people learn about this stuff, on the job? Institutions have such short memories.

      What were we talking about?

  2. Japan and America had very similar data which was dated around 2007 which stated 25-33% of deaths that occurred in Hospitals were "preventable". Wrap your head around that. That is 3 out of every 10 due to missed diagnosis, non diagnosis, nurse error, operational procedural event, over med or miss med.

    My student lost her 16 year old baseball star son to a hospital error last June. It happens a lot. 30%

    You gotta think about it for a while to get it. It's not companies and doctors work together to pay out as little as possible by flat out lying, delaying putting family through the emotional wringer until they throw in the towel.

    Several folks across Japan died today because they had the flu and someone fucked it up. The odds say that is true. Today someones life was thrown into a hell hole of misery and the Hospital that did it (if the family even figures it out) the Hospital will seem worse and more callous than anything that folks have imagined.

    The post i did about Suicide...her mother died as a result of Hospital error and gross negligence and she killed herself partly from the guilt which the Hospital piled on in heaps.

    1. Our neighbor, the one who walked along the skies, when he went (and he was going) he was unable to clear his throat and that finally did it. The hospital probably could have kept him alive a while longer, but that seems a lot different from going in for a check-up in good health and not coming out the same way.

      Sixteen...I can't imagine what it's like to lose a kid. And at that age.

      Only a few days ago, I was looking around and found part of a study done in the US about a hospital that was actively doing something in terms of discussing mistakes with patients instead of trying to cover up instead - deny and defend.

      There's something about being here that I don't like in terms of how openly dishonest folks can be. It ain't good. Not like it's good anywhere.

      I remember the suicide post. Only once in my life have I experienced enough emotional pain, unexpected as it was, to understand why people would do anything simply to make the hurt stop.

      Not admitting to mistakes doesn't seem half as bad as the damage that is done in defense of the denial.

      I don't like the feeling of being steeped in a culture that is so drone-prone toward excepting whatever is dished out. Still, I've got a long way to go before having anything to brag about. Maybe then I'll throw a party.

      Been looking at smokers recently...

  3. I remember my mom telling me after she had been diagnosed with lung cancer that she had been experiencing those kind of symptoms for quite awhile. Mainly shortness of breath and some pains in her chest area. And they were only checking her heart out to see if she was in risk for heart attacks and other ailments similar to that. Finally after going in several times were they able to discover the cancer.

    Sometimes doctors just hear the same shit over and over and immediately jump to the same conclusions with everybody instead of following the same steps to determine whats wrong. Unfortunately its they hypochondriacs who screw up the system for us all.

    1. Finding a doctor who will listen... while people here tend to be geared toward not asking questions, I've been fairly lucky (for the most part).

      A decade shy of a century, the same thing is finally taking down one of the most ornery and true-grit tough kind of guys I've had the pleasure of camping with. With more than forty years of smoking, surprised it didn't happen ages ago. Hell wouldn't want him and heaven... think they'd be afraid to let him in.


      Have been by your site a few times, but my uber-yesterday computer slows, chokes, and needs the defibrillator. Especially enjoyed the shadow post. May be able to 'barrow' a console tomorrow, as I want to leave a comment.

      And thank you for your comments.