Dr D is an emergency physician in a rural
hospital. She is also very active and enjoys rock climbing and bush walking.
She had recently returned from a trip to Nepal where she walked to the Mt
Everest base camp. She suffered a bit of gastro on her return home, but
nothing too serious, although she did chat to a colleague at work about how
much time she should take off before going back to work.
On her first
day back at work, she was seeing a patient in resuscitation when a wave of
nausea overtook her. She hastily left the room with the patient notionally in
the hands of the Registered Nurse. As she left she said “perhaps I came back
to work too early”.
While Dr D was out of the room, the patient
suffered a cardiac arrest, and the emergency response team attended. The
patient recovered but an incident report was completed noting that Dr D had
left the Emergency Department unattended.
On reviewing the incident
report, the hospital administration noticed that there had been a number of
incidents over the past couple of years where Dr D had injured herself and been
unable to work.
Dr D was called in for a meeting with the hospital
administration. They were concerned that she was not looking after herself
properly, and was putting herself and her patients at risk.
result of this Dr D took a step back and reflected on things. She conceded that
perhaps she did push herself too much and that she may have come back to work
too early after injuries in the past. She decided to take better care of
herself and to ensure that if she did injure herself in future she was fit for
work before coming back.