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Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"


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Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy

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  • Re:Fire them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Barrinmw ( 1791848 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:22AM (#32440998)
    Next thing you know, people will start getting fired there if they don't open the door for a lady.
  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:39AM (#32441108) Journal

    Forced gratitude has zero meaning.

    Sometimes you have to force the issue if you want to create the habit in people.
    My mother spent a lot of time reminding me to "say please" and "thank you" until it eventually stuck.

    Anyways, this isn't really about "saying please," it's about creating a small barrier for doctors to overcome if they want their blood tests done by the apparently overworked staff during the weekend.

    The managers said the move is aimed at easing pressure on hospital workers charged with performing blood tests by making doctors consider whether the tests are essential.

    Eventually, doctors will just start writing please on all their lab request forms and the hospital will be back where it started.

  • N.H.S. Pinafore (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IronClad ( 114176 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:41AM (#32441126) Homepage

    I've seen that N.H.S. Pinafore show before. I can even still hum some of the snappy lyrics.

    I hold when diagnosing a disease,
    The expression, "if you please",
    A particularly gentlemanly tone implants.
    And so do my sisters, and my cousins, and my aunts!

    Stick close to your desk
    And never check a pulse
    and you may all be rulers
    of our hospitals.

    or something like that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9-ZZRXBEcM [youtube.com] with "please" goodness at 4:00 and 5:40

    Just who does this Doctor Dick Deadeye think he is? Doesn't he know that a British lab technician is any man's equal, (excepting, of course, mine).

  • by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:46AM (#32441148)
    That is right. God does not say 'please' or "thank you."
  • Re:Not credible (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AndrewBC ( 1675992 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:02AM (#32441572) Homepage

    Also amusing is that only a single doctor would say anything about this, and only under the cover of anonymity.

    C'mon, let's be realistic please.

  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:24AM (#32441674)

    We're all very funny today aren't we, all of you folks that haven't worked E&R. Let me tell you something you will never experience yourself, but hospital doctors can be some of the biggest ego-centric pricks you will never meet - really, you have no idea the sense of self importance they carry with them. It's a God complex - "I save lives, so get out of my FUCKING way, you worthless turd". Even though the E&R and post-op nurses save way more lives than they do, the nurse is relegated to a personal slave who OWES limitless respect to his lordliness. I think this is an EXCELLENT response - yes, it's puerile, but it's exactly that level of childish egotism that we deal with every day, and even if it's FORCING them to be civil when they're really not at heart, it still puts the bastards in their place. Just a little bit.

    With BOFH and PHB stereotypes well-known to /. , I would have thought a little more understanding would be forthcoming. But no, the "IT boys" long for such parity with their medical counterparts, and make jokes about us "bitches" and "lowly technicians". You know what - I hope one of our doctorly lords fucks up your med prescriptions next time you're in recovery - see how much you appreciate the attentiveness of us "weenie slaves" then. And, yes, go suck your own cock, you humourless, anonymous waste of breathing space.

  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xmundt ( 415364 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:49AM (#32441830)

    Greetings and Salutations;
              While I sense a certain amount of repressed anger in this post, my recent experience of spending four days in hospital tend to re-enforce the overall view of the ER doctors. While I have no complaints about the technical competency of the doctor who sealed off the seven ulcers in my esophagus, trying to get him to discuss my illness and ways that I could deal with it was like trying to pull up a manhole on the road with a screwdriver! I was left with the impression that he considered talking to me to be a waste of time, both because I was obviously too old and stupid to understand anything he said about the state of my body, and, that it would be a waste of time to discuss long-term treatment with me.
                I will say, though, that the nurses and technicians that I interacted with over that four day period were top notch. They provided excellent care, and, interacted with me as if I was actually a valuable human, and, dealt with the terribly chaotic schedule of an intensive care wing with good humor and a positive attitude. Actually, the only problem I had was that I have terrible veins in my hands and arms (small, buried deep, and, with a huge tendency to slither away or go flat when a needle gets near them), so, the techs that came in to get blood samples had QUITE a challenge. I was fairly sure that after the first day, they were down there drawing straws, to see who got the short one and had to come poke me.

  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:09AM (#32441938)
    I completely agree about the egotism of many doctors, or the attitude that they see their job as treating the illness rather than informing the patient - I have both first hand experience of this (lots of time in hospital as a kid and a partner who is a nurse). Having said that, this is just indicative of the wider problem that the attitude of doctors generally stinks (there are some great doctors of course, but either I've been incredibly unlucky in my dealings with them, or the good ones are woefully under represented in the numbers employed), and this initiative isn't likely to improve on that at all. I don't know what the answer is, but it's certainly not forcing them to be "courteous" on a form, that's just going to further entrench the attitude issues - you only have to read the comments of the doctor in the summary to see that happening already - and possibly put patient welfare at risk (not to mention wasting money at a time when managers are just looking for an excuse to slash costs).
  • by pcolaman ( 1208838 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:33AM (#32442058)

    It's a UK Hospital. Nuff said. This wouldn't happen in a US Hospital. That being said, being married to someone in the Medical Field, Doctors treat everyone not a doctor like shit, so honestly, I'm not surprised that someone somewhere would want to fuck with their heads a little.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:13AM (#32442222)
    Nice try, but that's the kind of attitude that causes issues in the first place. A sergeant is below a lieutenant in the chain of command, a doctor is categorically not the manager of a medical technician. If the technician's manager orders him not to do something, it's not the place of a doctor to override that.
  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chitlenz ( 184283 ) <chitlenz.chitlenz@com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:10AM (#32442412) Homepage

    I have spent a LOT of time (like omg just too many hours to count) designing medical software, and I have to agree with this guy... these MDiety suckers can be the most arrogant people on the planet. They just look right over patients as a statistic.

    I'm willing to allow that some guys just really can't deal very well with people, but even that does NOT excuse their dealings with staff. Some of these folks are mindblowingly self centered jerks, and see even praising their office folks as somehow beneath them. I do think that trying to enforce a 'please' policy is fairly dumb, but at the same time I think it is important to remember that typically people who don't have to be forced to say 'please' don't have this kind of problem in the first place (i.e. the guy who already knows and acknowledges the lab staff and works with them in reasonable ways can probably leave this kind of shit off anyway and have it be presumed...).

    Seriously, if you take the worst BOFH in history and add a 500k/year salary you get a typical surgeon.

  • by john.r.strohm ( 586791 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:05AM (#32443490)

    Are you sure about that?

    The link is to the UPI site. UPI is a hard-news operation, and has been in the business for a very long time.

  • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:06AM (#32443514)
    US News study found Fox as the most balanced in straight reporting, but that doesnt include the nutty far-right infomercial opinion/commentary stuff that (to me anyway) seems to be what takes most of the air time. In that same vein I think CNN/MSNBC do their straight reporting more center-left (well, CNN anyway) and rely less on commentary. My biggest objection to Fox isnt their political leaning, but that it's mostly theater.
  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:12AM (#32443558) Journal

    Which is the problem. Senior medical (doctor and nursing) staff have historically managed junior medical and paramedic staff in the NHS. Then it was discovered that people with a Business Studies degree from Ex-Polytechnic of Bumpton were much easier for government to manipulate as the NHS became a political vehicle for anything from PPP to immigration policy.

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AndersOSU ( 873247 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:28AM (#32443726)

    I agree with everything you said.

    I've just got to believe that there already is a medical word that doctors can apply to an urgent order, without co-opting please. How about NOW, or STAT, or URGENT, or ASAP. Please makes it sound like a request, which it really isn't - it's an order, and there should be a better way of indicating urgency than appending "please". What I suspect has happened is that doctors over-use the already existing words, so hospital administrators are playing a game of word-inflation. It's not actually going to decrease the amount of weekend work, it's just going to force the doctors to pad their orders with code-words.

    If they want to decrease the amount of work performed on overtime, what they need to do is call a staff meeting and explain why they think that there's an overabundance of urgent requests. OTOH, it's probably easier to just send out an email stating that all orders that don't contain the magic word of the week will be rejected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:58AM (#32444018)

    One quick phone call to the hospital concerned, and there's the answer - it was a completely made-up story by The Sun based loosely on a jokey comment by a doctor. The contact details for the hospital are readily available on yell.com but they did ask me to tell people not to ring them about it any more. They do have some real work to do...

    Posting logged out to avoid karma whoring ;-)


  • Re:Just wanna say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chooks ( 71012 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:06AM (#32444124)

    As someone in the medical profession, when you get tired/rushed/etc... you lose one of two things:

    1. Compassion
    2. Ability

    Guess which one kills people or gets you sued when lost?

I've got a bad feeling about this.