Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dialysis: The attitude of nurses

I'm convinced that at least this one nurse in my dialysis center has only contempt for me. I used to encounter the attitude in India that anyone with an illness was considered to be to blame for having that illness---probably the result of some vaguely formulated karmic theory that Indians find so attractive. I sometimes (very rarely) get the same impression in Germany too. There is one nurse in my dialysis center who is assigned to the night shift quite rarely, but when she is there and is assigned to connecting me up, my night is sure to be hell.

First, she gets all the parameter settings wrong; when I correct her, she says I don't trust her. Damn right! You are getting all the numbers wrong. If the heparin stop time is not set correctly, I can be sitting there for one hour waiting for the bleeding to stop, after the needles are removed. It matters whether the parameters are exactly right. The biggest problem I have with this nurse is that she consistently leaves air bubbles in the heparin feed line, which leads to non-stop alarms all night. After this happened three times with her, I have become firm with her about removing those air bubbles. Every time she mutters about my not having any faith in her.

So I've managed to piss this lady off; I can understand that. After all, I am essentially questioning her competence by checking everything she does.  It doesn't matter that she *is* incompetent.

But the thing I don't understand is that she takes out her frustration with me by taking revenge: she slams the door shut loudly every time she comes in to check during the night whether everything is in order, waking me up each time. Why would she do that? I can understand that she's pissed off with me because I keep correcting her mistakes, but what's the logic of waking me up throughout the night and ruining my next day? I guess it must be satisfying for her to "get back" at me.  But it speaks to an attitude of contempt for the patient.

There was an interesting case recently in the US of a patient accidentally recording what their doctors said while he was getting a procedure under anaesthesia. You can read all about it here:

It's very hard for me to understand why medical  personnel ever think it's OK look down on their patients and to treat them like they are worth nothing.

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