I didn’t want to clerk you.
I saw you from my seat by the computers. You were muttering to no one in particular, constantly moving around, taking your top off just to put it back on. You were a big guy, and I was scared of you. There seemed no way of predicting what you may do. When I happened to select your notes, I felt my heart sink. My face clearly gave away my feelings to the junior doc who was with me. “Sorry, but this is A&E. You can’t choose who to see!”.
Deep breath, and I walked into your cubicle, pulling the curtain across. I tried to be friendly but professional. “Hello, I’m Hannah. I’m one of the Final Year Medical Students.” I sat down, put my stick against my chair and gave you a smile. You looked over, and your first question, with genuine concern in your eyes, was; “Are *you* ok?”.
You hadn’t eaten for two days. You were shaking, moving constantly, having lost your meds and not had any for days. You felt sick, scared, and starving. “Is there any chance of some food?”. I said I’d see what I could do, and went to ask the Nurse In Charge immediately. She wasn’t optimistic that she could get anything quickly, but promised to try.
I passed you a few times in the next hour, before you moved to the Observation Unit. There was still no food, but we’d found you the medications you needed. I asked if you were comfortable, and got you a cup of tea.
I saw you an couple of hours later with the same junior doc. You weren’t so shaky. You even looked relaxed. You had devoured a snack bag, and wanted to go home. With enough meds ready for you to take out, you were free to go. As we went to leave your cubicle, you called us back. You grabbed the doctor’s arm, saying; ‘You should know – this girl is really great at her job. She has really looked after me. You should know that.” I immediately went bright red. Ever the professional, me. You looked right at me. “Thank you. Thank you for everything.”
I was told by a doctor when I first arrived in A&E that quick decisions and judgements were the bread and butter of Emergency Medicine. But I misjudged you. I’m sorry.