Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bad lad ...

There was a surgeon ... let's call him Bad-lad. He was short, balding, and weird, with huge blue eyes magnified by Harry Potter glasses. I tried to believe that his heart was in the right place, but he constantly gave me reason to wonder. He could be quite nasty, and definitely wasn't a team player. Nobody liked him. Everyone complained about him. When Bad-lad was on-call, his surgical colleagues cringed and anaesthetists freaked (to put it mildly). He was the type to spend 15 minutes running around looking for a blanket to cover a P1 patient with, before doing the most necessary stuff like tubing, CVP etc. (Or something along those lines). I often felt a teeny-bit sorry for him, until this particular incident....

I was allocated to anaesthetise for him on this particular day. Did I mention that he was also the slowest, most time-consuming surgeon in the department? In that teaching hospital, the last elective case was put on the table at 3 pm. If you were slow, and didn't finish your list by that time, the case was postponed to the next available list. Unfortunate, yes. Not the best management technique, for sure. But no sister would scrub for an elective case after 3. And well, a scrub sister is an imperative part of any surgical case.

So .... Bad-lad was scratching away at some piles. He'd been at it for ages. The blood loss was almost that of a huge laparotomy. It was 3:15. We still had a hernia on the list. And I was frustrated. Seriously frustrated and extremely irritated. The sister informed her floor-nurses and runners that it was to be the last case of the day. Everyone was aware of how things worked there. Except for Bad-lad of course.

He ordered me, (yes - ordered), to call for the next patient. He had to be joking. I mean a guy who spent two and a half hours on piles for crying out loud, would probably need five hours for a freaking hernia!! I gave a nervous little giggle and before I could help myself, I uttered the three little words that severed our already fragile relationship for ever. "Are you crazy????"

He stopped operating. Threw down his tools. Fixed that magnified icy blue stare on me ... and silence reigned for exactly 5 seconds. Then all hell broke loose. He started screaming, and shaking like a leaf.
I was accused of calling him crazy and he was hurling verbal abuse at the top of his voice. I tried to explain that I hadn't called him crazy as such - I'd simply asked a question. A simple "no" would've been enough of an answer. When the performance showed no signs of abating, my hysterical laughter bubbled to the fore. I laughed uncontrollably till my eyes teared, probably because my nerves were so frayed, and it just infuriated him even more. Fortunately the spinal had long worn off and I'd been forced to convert to a general anaesthetic, so the patient was none the wiser.

Poor guy. I felt like the straw that broke the camel's back. It was not my proudest moment. And although it was never my intention to freak him out, I'd be a liar if I said that some small part of me hadn't thoroughly enjoyed the whole fiasco. That was Bad-lad and me ... finished for good.

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