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Hospital Days

Written on: Tuesday June 19th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

Today was a bad day in the hospital. We started with the Good Morning session as usual, then moved on to the ward rounds, again, as usual! After the rounds finished, we were asked if we would like to observe a lumbar puncture. 3 of us went into the procedure room - me, Sophie and a girl called Isla who is a student from New Zealand. The procedure was for a tiny baby, who was crying and obviously would not stay still. Isla had to try and hold the baby so that it was a little bit curled up, to make access to the spine easier, but the doctors struggled. They had 3 needles, and used all of them, actually 'cleaning' them out with saline (salt water) in between use, rather than getting a fresh, sterile needle. Eventually they had to give up, as they had attempted too many times and the child was clearly distressed. Not a great start to the morning!

Following that, we hiked over to the paying ward, where a young girl of 14 had been admitted for anaemia of unknown cause. Seen as the blood count had not shown any abnormalities, they had decided that a bone marrow sample was required. I was quite interested to see how they would do this, as obviously I'd seen my fair share on my haematology SSC. Nothing could have prepared me for the way they treated the girl though. Firstly, they did not explain the procedure to her at all, just laid her face down on the bed and pulled down her trousers to expose the lower back area. They cleaned the area with iodine - fair enough, but when they took out the needle, it was bent!! They injected the local anaesthetic without warning, and hardly left it to work before jabbing the aspirate needle - into a completely different area! It is worth noting at this point that the girl's father had been shut outside and not allowed in, so she was getting upset and crying out that it hurt. Aside from us 3, there was the doctor performing the procedure and 2 interns. Not one of them talked to her, or tried to calm her down, and the doctor kept repeatedly inserting the needle into various areas, ignoring her cries of pain. I was getting quite upset by this point, not to mention absolutely fuming that not one of them could be bothered to talk to her to calm her down, or let her father in. They were looking at her as though she was a piece of meat. In the end, I grabbed her hand and told her to squeeze when it hurt - my God, she had a fantastic grip! I was just so frustrated that they were ignoring her - I was actually shaking I was that mad. Luckily I think she understood English quite well, so between us we managed to keep talking to her, and it was a little better after that, but it was heartbreaking watching her sobbing into the bed with everyone else ignoring her. 

Once they had finally finished, they made the slides to send to the lab, and I honestly believe I could have done a better job myself - at least I was shown how to do it properly during haematology, not the haphazard way it was performed today. The doctor said "Oh, the slides aren't very good", and I was so angry I was half tempted to tell him that it was his fault as he hadn't done it properly. I managed to keep my mouth shut though, and just silently raged to myself as the girl's father was finally allowed in.

Once that ordeal was over, we had a meeting to attend, where a presentation was given about external manifestations of internal disease - some fascinating pictures, and a very entertaining talk! That lasted until about 1:30pm, at which point we left the hospital and made our way to Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), but that's another story...




From Mum on Jun 19th, 2007

What an awful experience Kim. Hope she was ok and you too. Love Mum x

From Pamela on Jun 19th, 2007

That sounds even worse than the way you described it earlier :( Hopefully tomorrow will be better xxx