There is a rat in the corner laughing. It is laughing because the person who set the trap for it has gotten caught by the trap and as he battles for freedom his other leg gets trapped and so the rats’ irritating sound of mockery intensifies. Only that this time that rat is me.
Today Dr Eze is the registrar on call with me, but by 3.40pm she called to inform me that I would be the only one on call.
Ordinarily, house officer job = original house officer work + house help + porter +idiot.
My current work for this call therefore = registrar work + the equation above.
So I try to round up what I am doing so I can rest a bit before it is 4pm when call would begin, what is my own. E ni ko lati n se eleyi. Management must not hear, I want to tell Dr Eze but I have learnt to keep my mouth shut and mind my business. ‘Yes ma’ and ‘Yes sir’ is all that matters to them. If I advise her now, she can say I am challenging her or that I am teaching my senior. From how confident she sounds, it is apparent that this is not the first time she is doing something like this.
Call begins and I begin to see the patients, reset the IV lines, correct hypoglycaemia, do CPR and before I know it the time is 11.27pm. There is a patient I have been having difficulties with for almost two hours, so I call Dr Eze and she responds with her nasal tone. I can tell she was sleeping. Sleeping on duty.
‘If you are the only doctor in a village, would you call me, wouldn’t you do something’ she hisses and puts off the phone. Aunty, now that we are not in the village, and I am not the only one, do we suddenly imagine or pretend I am the only one and we are in a village?
What is my own? I go to the case note and document the time I called her and because I am a nice person, I do not document her response.
Seeing me sweating and battling with one patient for so long, the nurse comes to meet me.
‘Why don’t you call your registrar?’
‘Sister but you were here when I called her’
‘If she is not coming then call your senior registrar’ I do as if I cannot hear her and start looking for what is not missing in the file jacket on the table, then I find a way of moving away from her. She comes to meet me again. Alakoba, I think to myself.
‘Ha sister, my credit has finished.’
Trust the nurses without fear and always eager to quickly document just to clear themselves. She picks her phone and calls the senior registrar who does not pick so she calls the consultant. I just stayed in the shadow winking. I for one cannot call consultant, there is hierarchy in medicine, so I can only call the registrar who would call the senior registrar who can then call the consultant on call. The height I can go is to call the senior registrar, but sister has it sorted. Soon we hear shouts.
The patient’s relatives have gone to cause trouble at the security post requesting to see the chief medical director. Men from the security department soon arrive and see that I have been seeing the patient since, my documentation and timing carefully recorded. They pick the phone and make phone calls, if it is the CMD or the consultant they are calling I am not in the know.
The following morning, everywhere is hot and we can tell the CMD must have called the consultant who said none of her doctors called her. If they want to go by work done, this woman should not get salary, because no proof of call duty. So consultant gives senior registrar query who gives registrar query who cannot give me query and so the consultant decides to know what happened and all focus is on the registrar.
She is looking at me for defense. But how can I defend someone that left me in the dark, what would I say?
She says she spoke with me, we are going through the case note and they can see my documentation at 11. 27pm called and informed Dr Eze on patient’s condition.
‘What did you ask her to do? Why didn’t you come when you noticed it was something the house officer couldn’t handle? Who did you call to inform?’
Sometimes I think it is law we are doing in this medicine and that is my best part. I love the interrogation because proof, work has to show, evidence has to be given for everything.
This is where the trailer on third mainland bridge leaves twitter and comes to jam Dr Eze and she begins to stammer and everyone looks at her with contempt. Sadly, I cannot even help her, she had enjoyed her night sleep now she would keep awake. Her looks intensify on me and consultant raises her voice.
‘Dr Eze, stop looking at the young doctor’ I look at consultant like who is young doctor but she is fighting my battle so I forgive her.
‘Dr Eze, do you know this is an act of negligence, do you know this can cost you your medical license, I don’t know what comes over you young doctors, a small position and you think you have arrived. Have we ever left you alone, to not be in the know, how would you feel if I left you stranded with a patient. Why have you wasted this genteel girl’s time’ she is looking at me now. I flush.
‘You have not only shown callousness to the patient but also for a colleague. Dr Eze you would get one month extension and you would be on call every day till you leave this unit’ Ghen!
Then she faces the senior registrar, ‘for not showing responsibility you have extra call for one week.’ Guy, that should have done his call properly the day before and then rest till the following week.
‘I don’t even know why you people leave the hospital premises when you are on call. You go to your homes and do calls from home. Henceforth, all that must stop.’
I cannot imagine what it would be like for Dr Eze not to leave the compound till the end of her stay in this unit except her partner (fellow resident doctor) is nice enough to show a bit of consideration and relieve her of some of her calls.
Then the consultant faces me
‘Dr Shode well done. You have not only shown skilLfulness but ability to have tense situations under control. Make sure when you get to their level you don’t get carried away and behave like them’
Eskis me ma, behave like them ke? No way. I’m already drafting the article I’m going to write about them already in case one nut in my brain wants to mistakenly loosen in the future and I want to forget.