This week the department of surgery in Bighospital has a celebrity patient of sorts, one of our own. When we have one of our own on the ward they are treated well, a side room, no idiots sent to do your bloods, no medical students darken your door, you even get to abuse visiting hours as everyone pops in to wish you a speedy recovery all day long.
There is even a sort of polite protocol; door open means visitors are welcome, door closed means they are not.
Some rules can’t be changed though and our wonderful ward clerkess, the sort of woman who calls a spade a “fuckin’ shovel”, was taking no nonsense from one visitor who was sitting on our patients bed.
Sitting on a patient’s bed is a crime, it would result in an instant fail of our hygiene inspection if the infection police saw it. (You can read my views on health and safety in the NHS here and here).
Our very important patient had a visitor who was sitting on the bed, the clerkess walked past and saw the besuited back and regal head of this person. “Oi, you can’t sit on the bed”. Patient spluttered “Don’t you know who this is?” gesturing to the visitor. With a broad smile the visitor inclined their head “I am the chief executive of this trust”.
Not missing a beat and certainly not impressed, the clerkess said “even worse, it’s your stupid rule. Now beat it”.
This story has gone across the floor and made us all laugh and elevated the ward clerkess to celebrity status.
The chief exec is just a colleague of this patient, can they imagine how wives and husbands and children of our patients must feel when we tell them to get off their loved ones bed. I hope our “leader” has taken the time to reflect on this, I suspect they have not.