I was a specialist at a children’s clinical hospital ward. Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant. This hospital offers services to children such as inpatient neurology, neurosurgeon, radiology, neuropathology and paediatrics neurology with the children department. This work as it sounds is highly specialized and can only be achieved in a center with high and excellent academicians and research done regularly.
Some work such as Neuro-radiology is highly specialized and is only provided in a few centers in the U. K. Which dictates regular increase knowledge by consulting references, identifying learning resources within the center and making use of them. I was a neurologist which means I attended to Brain and Nervous system diseases. Due to the fact that they are few centers taking care of Neurologist. Difficult cases are referred to our clinics. For instance stroke, brain saving treatments are available if the patients are seen, scanned and diagnosed on time in specialist centers.
As a neurologists, I was interested in dealing directly with emergency care but hospital senate was usually interested on how many patients are attended which leaves the emergency care to non-specialists. On this particular week I was on duty or what this center called a call. That means for 24 hours a day and 7 days am available for emergency referrals. On Monday that week a very young child was aged 9 years had a brain biopsy, he was on the intensive care unit. I was not sure what is wrong which was a difficult time for me and his family.
I requested for a brain test, which helped me diagnose the problem. I had an interest on multiple sclerosis. Children will have an attack once an year, eventually there was no treatment but now we had it only that it is too expensive, money had run out for the treatment, how cumbersome!. In the afternoon, I had a general neurology clinic at the hospital. I was also following on the patient who were fourteen in number those that I had been treating but seventeen have booked in. This was so frustrating because I would not give my patients attention as desired.
In the evening I would return to the ward to see a patient I have not been there so files had really piled up. At night I received a call concerning a patient who have fever and there are no doctors so I went back. Tuesday I was on call for emergencies but routine work went on, Traffic was very built up so I had to leave early to get there by 8. 00 am. and its 10 miles. Tuesday afternoon a child with a bad headache was admitted, I was worried she had a clot in her head. Radiologist said the brain scan could stay until morning but I objected and supported an immediate brain scan. Wednesday
I began by paper work then proceeded to give attention to my patients in the ward. In the afternoon there was multidisciplinary Neuro inflammatory clinic at 2pm. As the hospital had 15 beds, I could not pay attention to all these patients so I gave advice to those who were in General medicine. I was called to see a patient with a weak leg he had a scan which ruled out an operation but we dint know why the leg was weak I recommended some more scans. Thursday We get to the office and do paperwork, I saw some of the patients, had a long talk with a couple whose child had a massive brain cycles.
Friday I had a clinic in the morning. I tried to be as responsible as possible to all our patients. We were attending to three patients each week to assess new symptoms to see if the patients will need a treatment. We also collected disability date with use of questionnaires which we then did a careful neurological examination. I got a call from the bone marrow transplant unit to see a child who had been in a coma for 24 hours. The question was whether he was epileptic. However he was given a sedative treatment for that day.
We arranged an emergent brain test and it looked like the coma was from infection or metabolic problems given that his liver was not functioning well or maybe he was reacting from yesterday’s drug. While working at the hospital, the pharmacist working in the department,gave medication to a patient who I had been treating, but the patient died. The family was convinced that the medication was the main reason as to why the child died. The family went ahead and sued him and the regarded it as a second degree manslaughter.
He chose me as his attorney as I was the one in charge of neurological children’s ward which I reluctantly accepted. I found myself so confused, I was not sure I wanted to do this but due to the fact that I was in charge neurological ward for children I had to. To be the attorney defending the pharmacist. I was not sure which way to go I was caught up in a moral dilemma. I felt that the pharmacist would have been more careful in serving the customers in accordance to the domains of conduct and competence.
On the other hand, I felt that I should be with him in that trying time. It was also a difficult time for me. It was a real test for my ethical standards. This is because I felt so carried away by the family’s reaction which I felt were justified. The second degree manslaughter, is a difficult case an attorney can take. Defending a person against murder charges whether attempted murder or manslaughter requires every possible weapon even if the prosecution is weak. This involuntary manslaughter usually carries four years.
The Pharmacist was so worried and nervous feared for the worst since the prosecution seemed very strong. When he stood in the docket to testify, there was nothing he said that seemed to satisfy the judge, which placed us in a worse situation than we were already in. This was the first time I was being an attorney in any ones case so that particular morning I was so confused. I tried to relax and get all the facts right concerning the case. When my time came to stand in the docket I was very composed. So I gave my testimony as the neurosurgeon who was in charge that week.
I argued that they were many conditions that surrounded the death of the boy. The death was not necessarily caused by the medication the patient was in bad shape which may have mainly contributed to his death. At this juncture it looked like am convincing the judge who then asked me to give a document backing my testimony which I handed over to him. The patient who was a ten year body had suffered from stroke which was very serious. The pharmacist seemed to relax a little bit when the judge finally started to nod his head in agreement.
I concluded my testimony by stating that the death of the patient was surrounded by many instances which was hard to draw any conclusion. The prosecutors were given a chance to give their evidence, they argued that the boy was fine until he took the medication. We were told to came back in the afternoon to hear the judges verdict. We came back at two in the afternoon. There was anxiety and tension in the court room as we awaited the judge verdict. The Judge threw out the prosecution as murder charge which he said the evidence was inadequate to support such a conviction of murder.
The prosecutor could not take that and vowed to appeal, calling the judge decision as “ultra vires”. The lead prosecutor complained to the judge accusing him of committing the offense of negligence. We were very excited and drove to the hospital feeling very achieved. This two experiences gave me more confidence to face future challenges, it was very hard in the beginning. With time I was able to learn so much, the reason I included the week when I was in duty is because it gave me the most experience it was a week of career growth without depending on the more experienced specialists.
This week also, I was able to measure my performance and how I could improve. In addition, I discovered my weakness which I hope to overcome as I advance in my career. I also noticed the importance of giving high quality services to my patient as it gives satisfaction and happiness to know that you did you did your best. When I needed to top up my knowledge I consulted other more experienced specialists or visited the hospitals library. which had enough resources. This helped me improve on my knowledge, which I hope to widen further as a advance in my career.
Courtney from Study Moose
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