Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Safety & Security

Something very strange happened last night.
I had to accompany an intubated & ventilated patient being transferred from our hospital, to an ICU in the capital city about 70 km away.

The ambulance was privately owned and state of the art, with all the equipement and gadgets one could ever need. I was at once impressed and relieved, as it would make the journey both interesting and safe.

On arrival, the paramedics threw open the doors, and facilitated the speediest admission I have ever witnessed ( the patient even had a sheet of printed stickers ready when we got to ICU!!). Then they proceeded to lead the way into the hospital.

But, to my utter amazement, they left the ambulance engine running ... with the doors wide open!!! Ok, it made for a very dramatic effect, with the lights glaring and all! There was also, certainly, a sense of urgency about the entire situation, but an extra 2 minutes to switch off the engine and lock the doors surely wouldn't have made that much of a difference? For goodness sakes, there was a lot of expensive stuff in there!!

Not to mention my work bag - in full view of anyone who might have the slightest inclination to look into the vehicle!!! I tend to always carry my bag with me, even for a transfer. It is an absolute work of art!! ( My bag that is). You will find anything and everything in there, from the most basic, to the most advanced, means of survival. I firmly believe that if I were ever stranded in the middle of nowhere, with my McGyver's Bag at my side, I would have nothing to fear. For the first 24 hours at least ...

It is a big hospital, so even at 10 o clock at night, the casualty department was quite busy. There were people milling about everywhere!! I tried to voice my concern to the oh-so -dedicated pair of paramedics now earnestly wheeling the patient towards the elevators, but was promptly reprimanded for worrying about such mundane matters at this crucial stage of the operation. Plenty of time for all those secondary isssues once the patient was safely handed over ....

Yeah right ....

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I have been conditioned to watch my back and lock things up. It is basically second nature to me. This blase attitude towards safety and security grates my nerves. God help them if we got stranded here, or even worse, if my precious bag got stolen ... I simply couldn't help imagining all the variations to the theme ...

Ambulance sans its wheels, (including the steering wheel). Ambulance sans its contents. Ambulance sans my bag. And well ... parking area sans the ambulance... After all, I know a place where, I kid you not, all of the above options are a part of normal, everyday life.

So imagine my surprise at finding everything exactly as we had left it! Even my bag was untouched!! And there were still loads of people all over the place!!

I guess that this is what Safety & Security really means ... even though I still struggle to comprehend it.