Letters to the Editor, Victoria Times Colonist, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
‘Dress codes in hospital should respect patients’
In May, I had to stay in the Royal Jubilee Hospital cardiology ward. At that time they decided to do a cardio conversion. Then in walks the devil himself to do the task. He wore tight jeans, a shirt of some ungodly print and had curly hair hanging down past his bum. Not OK. I am a 66-year-old woman with a serious heart condition and I just wanted to get up and run.
Whatever happened to dress code? A white coat and clean hands gives a person a feeling of confidence. Is it some kind of infringement on these people’s rights? One seldom knows if they are talking to the janitor or head nurse. I feel I deserve better than that in the hospital.
Mrs. M.A., Victoria
Letters to the Editor, Victoria Times Colonist, Friday, June 26, 2009
Re: ‘Dress codes in hospital should respect patients’, June 24, 2009
I’m pretty sure that “the devil himself” — as the letter-writer described the doctor who helped her in cardiology wearing tight blue jeans, a “shirt of some ungodly print” and long curly hair — was the same cardiologist who saved my life a year ago.
Two weeks earlier, I’d been sent home from that same hospital’s Emergency Department by an older, white-coat-wearing, officious, über-confident, old-school kind of physician whom your letter-writer would have certainly preferred.
This white-coat clad doctor did not introduce himself, did not make eye contact, and made it clear that I was wasting his and his colleagues’ valuable time.
He told me with absolute certainty and a superior doctorly tone that I merely had acid reflux (despite presenting with textbook heart attack symptoms like crushing chest pain, sweating, nausea and pain radiating down my left arm).
Then I was sent home, feeling extremely embarrassed for having made a fuss over nothing, with instructions to go see my family doctor who would prescribe antacids for my indigestion.
Fast forward two weeks of increasingly debilitating symptoms (but hey! at least I knew it wasn’t my heart!) until I finally presented myself again in Emergency in very serious condition, no longer able to tolerate these unbearable physical signs.
This time “the devil himself” was called in, and immediately administered a 30-second non-invasive cardiac assessment test* (pressing on my abdomen with both hands while observing my abnormal jugular pulse) and, after checking my EKG and cardiac blood enzyme test results, announced that I had “significant heart disease.”
I was taken immediately from E.R. to O.R. for emergency treatment. Later, when three cardiology residents from Sweden came to examine me as I lay recuperating in the Coronary Care Unit, I learned they had all come here to Canada just to study under the cardiovascular mentorship of “the devil himself”.
I’ll take “the devil” any day. Perhaps patients with “serious heart conditions” like your letter-writer wouldn’t have such serious heart conditions in the first place if they lightened up a bit and learned to be gracious, tolerant and grateful for the amazing care and expertise we have here in cardiology — “ungodly printed” shirts and all.
Carolyn Thomas, Victoria
© Copyright 2009 The Victoria Times Colonist
* The brief diagnostic procedure that my cardiologist performed is called an abdominojugular test (previously known as hepatojugular reflux). Jugular veins bring de-oxygenated blood from the head back to the heart. Healthy people undergoing an abdominojugular test will have a temporary increase in the internal jugular pulse for just a heartbeat or two before the venous pressure returns back to normal. But a skilled physician can observe in the sick patient’s earlobe pulse the characteristic double flicker of a sustained elevated jugular venous pressure – a sign of active or impending heart failure.