Monday, June 30, 2008

ER: T.he S.hop ME.dicine (naaaah)

Monday, June 30, 2008
The One Stop Shop MEdicine, not necessarily
When I entered Emergency Medicine, I had the illusion I would be doing things that I used to watch in the TV series E.R. How wrong I was. Along with technology, Emergency Medicine (EM) has evolved to a one stop shop for patients. I grew up in a province and the only time I've seen the inside of the emergency room was when I was rushed to the hospital because of high grade fever, from what I remember was I was in critical condition then. Connection? Technology has made it possible for people to get answers with just one click or to make things happen with just one push of a button. I've noticed that people who grew up with this exposure are impatient (STOP! Hear me out) as compared to the people who are used to doing things the manual way. Yes, I am used to technology but still I would rather go through the library (nope, not the online version) browse through hundreds of books and read through them.
I am not generalizing the whole health care system in this. I have received patients who simply couldn't afford to wait in line in the clinic simply because they couldn't wait to get their questions answered immediately. They expect it to be as simple as one click of a button. Some patient's I'm grateful to have because they are very willing to be interviewed for a while. Some simply expect that when a person has fever, the automatically have dengue and immediately ask for a CBC. Other kinds of patients just wouldn't want to walk around the different departments for their laboratories to be done. Hence the ER provides a way for them to be catered without them having to walk around.
Science have evolved with technology, yes, there are things we can do now that we aren't able to do before. Then there are things that are done faster than before, which brings me to patients expecting their laboratory results to come out like a instant photo machine. It can be done in some cases but in most cases that wouldn't be the norm. Let me just beg off with this, that some laboratory exams would require chemical reactions to occur, and it takes a while for that to be completed. Hopefully in the future mankind would be able to manufacture a one click diagnostic machine. That would be a great improvement, but still I would like my diagnostic exams to be accurate rather than fast. If being fast would mean more mistakes, I'd rather take a diagnostic examination that would be slow and accurate... but that's just me...

P.S. I still do get to do things that I used to watch at E.R. and maybe more. I get to see a wide range of cases, out-patient, urgent, critical... patients with vague symptoms having more serious problems. I learn, day by day, person by person, patient by patient, case by case.

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