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  1. 1

    anonymous 2

    Thank you for this.
    I’ve worked as a doctor in the Victorian public hospital system for a little under a decade now and this is also my experience. The endless juggling of beds that do not exist, the waiting rooms with lines out the door, the patients who deserve better, the violence, the harassment. It is not OK. It really isn’t. Always remember (and this is hard for an empathetic person to do); this is not your fault.

    In my opinion, this is a collective failure. A failure of the government to properly fund the social good of healthcare with its fetishisation of bureaucracy, information technology and market mechanisms. A failure of society to hold itself together, demand basic respect and decency from all individuals and institutions as a norm and call the government to account for its failure to show basic decency to public hospitals. Anomie is in the air and no one seems to be listening to the canaries in the coalmine. And us canaries still keep singing, keep caring and looking bright and kind because that’s who we are, but we are getting breathless. No-one is noticing our near collapsed state because we just keep singing.

    Let me tell you a story though. I went on holiday to Japan recently. On the bus back from one of temples in Kyoto we happened to stop by one of Kyoto’s major hospitals for some lunch. There was a man out the front of the hospital who was directing the parking. He was neat, in his uniform and keeping the flow of traffic smooth,helping elderly people out of their cars, speaking to carers. I keep thinking about the number of times my hospital’s intercom has announced the licence plate of someone who has left their car in the wrong spot or the number of patients who have asked me where they can park. Or the number of patients angry about the lack of parking. Ot the number of patients and carers who called me something abusive for not being able to direct where they should park. I’m thinking; a better way is possible. I’ve seen it out the front of a Kyoto hospital. It should be possible here too. Why not?

  2. 2


    Dear Anonymous

    Beautifully written article, and bravely written!
    – thank you.

    “The Judkins article reminded me that the ED culture of ‘we can cop anything’ has got to stop. It’s a maladaptive coping strategy that is harming patients and staff. We don’t like to admit we’re struggling. We don’t want anyone to think we’re not tough enough.

    In our toughness, we fail to advocate for our patients. But in our defence, exhaustion also plays a part. You can’t scream for help when you’re gasping for air.”

    the Judkins response article is also worth a read!

    Perhaps it’s part of the “Let’s make our EDs Better” MOVEMENT, that so many of us are part of.

    lets be brave!


    PS – Here’s an old Poem I wrote after a locum night shift back in 2012 called “night shift No2” – your own recollection of some random shifts, reminded me of my own wellbeing strategy within EM as a registrar (which is a very challenging training and speciality, often not recognised enough) . Here, with this poet reflection on just 2 night shifts in some St Elsewhere’s hospital I was simply trying my best to focus on the positives, after what had been a challenging couple of night shifts (NB although they were challenging shifts, it is worth noting that they were also normal for ED in under-resourced settings, in a high income country -ie Australia. Also worth noting -despite many things having improved in EM in Australasia, i’m not sure if I can say the situation of being under resources in ED has improved even in 2019 – like Simon’s article says- we simply need better staffing with skilled and senior doctors in EDs … across the board )


    After night shift number two,
    You could have heard me say “PHEW!”

    It wasn’t that the night was so bad, or particularly sad,
    For good times by the staff all round were certainly had!

    But rather it was just-so-packed!
    And now I feel a little bit hacked…

    There were emergencies of the brain,
    And patients that kept flowing in like rain,

    Radiology was called in through the night,
    And the essential scans were given without fight,

    Then there were the children who couldn’t sleep,
    Breathing in ways that made mothers weep,

    Men screaming in pain,
    With injuries that wouldn’t wain,

    And of course the worker who crushed his fingers at the start of the shift,
    Whose injury was not to be taken so thrift,

    Plastics advised, we sutured him wise,
    And he left like he’d been given a prize!

    But the thing that touched me most,
    Was the caring effort of those manning the post,

    For when all others were tucked away in their land of the dream,
    This bunch were holding it together by the cloth and the seam,

    And with kind advice from friends on the phone,
    We didn’t feel so very alone,

    Perhaps “team-work” was the winner of the day,
    So “Thank you my awesome team! “ is what I have to say!



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