Sunday, June 24, 2012


Ok, it's been a while.  Sorry for the delay.  Hopefully my blog won't go the way of 99% of blogs in cyberspace with time in between posts gradually lengthening until they eventually stop - only to pick up again at some random point months down the road (the blogging Wenckebach effect).  Sadly it probably will.  

But for now I'm here, bursting with blogging energy and eagerly wanting to share with you more adventures of my life as an internist (yawn).

I thought today would be a good day to share some photos of my amazing workplace.  But before we jump right to the good stuff, you have to endure my thoughts on hospitals.

In general, I see hospitals as a necessary evil.  They are actually very dirty and dangerous places.  Check out  this article on the estimated number of in-hospital deaths due to medical errors.  I secretly wonder how many of those I've unknowingly caused.  Any of you doctors out there think you've killed a patient?  Dr. Cox of Scrubs would have you think otherwise!

But hospitals continue to exist because they have a net positive effect.  In other words, we save many more people than we kill.  How reassuring!

You should feel somewhat reassured that hospitals, physicians, and nurses are continually trying to improve.  Improvement can be slow, but at least we're trying to move the in right direction.  Remember - all of us in healthcare are human and make mistakes just like everyone else.  

Fortunately I've been part of hospitals that take patient satisfaction and patient safety very seriously.  I have the photos to prove it.  So with that in mind, let's take a look around at my second home.  

One thing that I love about my hospital is how focused they are on preventing the spread of dangerous bacteria.  Most hospitals have hand sanitizer within arm's reach at all times.  But I recently found out that we have taken hygiene to a whole new level.  As I went into the bathroom the other day to micturate, I found this nice surprise when I lifted up the seat:

What the hell does this mean?  Perhaps it secretly sterilizes the outermost portions of your ass cheeks and creates an antimicrobial 'fire break'.  If you can't get doctors to wash their hands, go right to the source!  Brilliant!

You should also know that we are also a very evidence-based institution.  Nothing in this hospital happens without some type of exhaustive literature search to find scholarly articles to support the proposed change in protocol.  Apparently no one researched the magical toilet seat prior to installation, because the bathroom protocol had soon changed.  Perhaps administration saw the rate of hospital acquired infections creeping up and decided to take a more drastic approach to ensure proper sanitation.  Not two weeks later, I found this on the door to my favorite bathroom (come on now, you all have your favorites too).

If hand washing and antimicrobial ass rings aren't effective, then clearly the next step is to close the bathrooms.  It has been shown to be 100% effective for preventing the spread of physician-acquired infections!  

Well I'll be damned if that small sign on the door was going to keep me away from my favorite commode!  I was not prepared to disrupt my daily schedule for the infection control committee.  

I guess I'm not as stealthy as I thought - check out the same door the very next day:  

Never!  How dare you!  No one ever asks for my input around here.  Actually this was enough to keep me away.  But apparently there are people who are either blind or illiterate that work here, because this is the same door not 24 hours later:

What you can't see are the armed guards stationed to either side of the door.  This made me laugh out loud.  As if the big sign, writing on the door itself, and the big red arrow weren't enough, now we have ourselves a crime scene.  Just between you and me - on my night shift I opened the door, took a few steps back, and dove head first between the top of the lower X and the crime scene tape just to get to my beloved throne.  Unfortunately the tie on my scrub bottoms tripped the laser as they were falling to my ankles and I was forced to escape through a small vent in the ceiling.  That was close.

The next day I finally gave up the bathroom fight and went to the one 'around the corner' as suggested by the writing and big red arrow on the door.  Guess what I found on that bathroom?

No freaking joke.  I gave up the fight and found a new fortress of solitude.

Enough about bathrooms.  How about this handy sign that I found posted on the back of the elevator wall:

WTF?  Why no love for the medical patients?  Hey you, Mrs. 95 year old, oxygen-using, blind, mostly deaf terminal cancer patient, I'm sorry but you need to step out and let the strapping 25 year old man with the inguinal hernia on the elevator.  The stairs to the 6th floor are on the other side of the hospital, right behind the morgue.  Thank you for your understanding!

On to the cafeteria.  Believe it or not, our hospital's food selection isn't all that bad.  Every once in a while, however, I see something that reminds me that it's still a hospital.  Check out this bowl of yummy goodness - couldn't pass this one up.

It brought back such fond memories of Mrs H, a pleasant 85 year old grandmother of 27 who greeted me with a blue bowl full of similar material the morning after being admitted for a small bowel obstruction.  

Our beverage selection is also top-notch.  We do our best to unknowingly sanitize your GI tract with a 'rare black tea'.  

Tazo is actually short for tazobactam, an anti-betalactamase compound that is combined with the fourth generation penicillin drug named piperacillin (piperacillin-tazobactam), also known by medical personnel as pip-tazo.  I guess the 'pip' doesn't taste so hot, but damn, that tazo is amazing!

Hopefully you now have a better idea about the wonderful place that serves as my second home - actually it probably qualifies as my primary residence given the amount of time I've spent there over the years.  I poke fun of it only because I like it.  Sure it has it's drawbacks, but on the whole it's been a great place to work and I have countless memories/stories that will be with me for the rest of my life.  Hopefully I've done more good than harm, although I suppose I'll never know for certain.

Stay tuned - post on one of my least favorite medical devices coming soon!


  1. Yes I am probably your only faithful reader on this entire rather the complete Universe (as I am willing to bet our 4G/internet was used by those on the Prometheus as well as the "Engineers").

    This was a short, somewhat bittersweet, and deceptively metaphorical soliloquy that summarized the last 3 years beautifully. Bravissimo my dear chap.

  2. I hope you keep posting! As an aspiring physician I love reading this blog!