Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Questionable Bedside Manner...

I spent another week in Australia, visiting my mate Bruce in Oz for a right old Soho-style piss-up and then my sister and family to relax for a few days. It was great to see familiar faces. Bruce is always great company, and I supplied him with a couple of good hangovers. My sister, Emma, looked fantastic. Like most women, she yo-yos with her weight...starving herself when she feels too fat. It drives the family mad. So I was pleased to see her looking well at Adelaide airport, and we were jabbering away over a coffee in the Arrivals lounge when I realised we hadn't collected my rucksack from the carousel. My heart almost stopped. With domestic airports being open, I was convinced it would have disappeared after an hour...but thankfully it was all alone on it's circular journey when I got down the stairs.

My sis is a midwife, and hates working in Australia. She said the service people get is awful, and that the standard of professionalism is very low. One woman was handed her newborn baby with the comment "Unlucky, love...it's a 'Ranga" from the nurse, which is midwife-speak for a redheaded infant, apparently (from Orangutan). Charming. Christ only knows what they'd say if it was Downs Syndrome?

We went along to Elisha's scan. She's 6 months pregnant with my nephew Lewis's child. The pair of them are only 19...so I'll be a great-uncle before I'm even a father. Shocking. I reckon I've had a good innings by any stretch of the imagination, and I think Lewis is concerned he won't be able to go to University or travel. But I told him that if his Mum could do it at 15 and end up with a good degree and a career, he can do it too. Just means he has to work a bit harder, that's all. And he has the support of the whole family around him, so with a bit of hard work he can do anything he likes. For me, there's no such thing as impossible...with the exception of being an astronaut or playing centre-forward for North End. So stick at it, Lew...everything happens for a reason? And even if it doesn't, we adapt.

I digress. So there's Elisha, belly exposed as the nurse starts the scan, and yours truly takes a photo...unaware Lewis is standing in front of a sign prohibiting this. The nurse went ballistic. Not content with telling me No Photos, she ranted on about disrespect for the medical profession and the serious procedure, it's not a circus etc. I pointed out it was an important family moment I wanted to record, and maybe the sign should have been on the door? To say it spoiled the moment would be like saying Pol Pot was a bit of a shit. After the family had filed out, I explained I'd missed the sign, but pointed out that her manner had been thoroughly unprofessional. "If that's how you feel, then fine. I accept your apology." Erm. Apology? Apology? Official complaint time, methinks.

Myself and Em had a word with the Registrar after he'd spoken with the nurse. I told him I didn't want a black mark on the woman's record, but would have been annoyed with myself if I hadn't raised the issue. There's a thing we have in the UK called professionalism. A bit of decorum wouldn't go amiss. He said the nurse had been stressed this morning and accepted she'd gone too far. An apology on her part might have been nice, but I let the matter drop.

So if you ever end up in an Adelaide hospital, don't tell them you know me, for fuck's sake. They might amputate your leg or something...

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