Communication Dysfunction

In charge the other day — my formal coronation as permanent charge is a little more than a month away — and regular readers will know the scene without long description: the usual 1730 train wreck, and down two nurses to boot. Same old, same old.

I’m then passed a call from Dr. McSnit demanding to speak to charge because of a “breach of protocol.”

McSnit is a bit like Dr. Weanus, except he’s on one of the surgical services, and he’s even more condescending, if it’s actually possible to squeeze more condescension into a human being without causing a nuclear chain reaction and blowing the place up. He’s not frequently on-call. Frankly, I’m comfortable with the distance in our relationship, because I am quite certain a knife fight would break out if I had to speak with him in person.

And the deal with the “breach in protocol”?

Wait for it. Stop the presses.

He was paged, and he wasn’t on-call.

Dear sweet God. Call the Mounties.

McSnit starts to explain to me why he wasn’t on-call. I know from painful, hard-won experience he will be incredibly, puke-inducingly patronizing, and what’s more, it will be a ten minutes exercise on my part to stroke, appease and feed an ego that has the size and appetite of stoned blue whale.

McSnit, I also know, is not going to actually communicate useful information, and his utterly patronizing tone has shut down any meaningful exchange in any case.

The utility of this conversation, from my point of view, is zero. And given that the department is burning down like Nero’s Rome, I need to stop fiddling. I simply don’t have time for this shit, even if I had the inclination. Stroking physicians is on my to-do list right below sticking a sharpened tongue depressor in my left eye.

So after about ten seconds, at the first plausible pause in his monologue, I say, “Gottagonowthanksbye.”

I hang up. On Himself.

Sixty seconds later he’s on the phone again with the ward clerk. What’s the name of that nurse? he demands. Such insufferable rudeness will not be tolerated. Heads will roll. Et cetera.

I shrug and wave my hands at the ward clerk. Whatever.

Then nearly fall out of my chair, laughing.


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  1. #1 by JennJilks on Wednesday 03 March 2010 - 1118

    The only thing I can say is,


    You don’t need a weapon! :-) Like his bruised ego takes precedence over patients.

  2. #2 by JennJilks on Wednesday 03 March 2010 - 1119

  3. #3 by wilomis on Wednesday 03 March 2010 - 1125

    But tongue depressors don’t go in your eyes.

  4. #4 by Helen Heubi on Wednesday 03 March 2010 - 1134


  5. #5 by Maha on Wednesday 03 March 2010 - 1427

    You go on with your bad self TorontoEmerg! McSnit needs to get a life – jackass.

  6. #6 by DreamingTree on Thursday 04 March 2010 - 1248

    McSnit! I LOVE the name!! And, I love how you handled it. :-D

    Our Dr. Putz once gave me crap about paging him — tried to give me the lecture of who to call when. I politely told him that I don’t memorize such lists; we have a switchboard operator for a reason, and he could share that information with them.

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