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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News ...

In a recent post I mentioned that we would be staying interstate next week.
What I failed to mention was that we are travelling to the Nation’s Sporting Capital to take advantage of the many fine surgical facilities therein.
I had intended to reveal that snippet of information because I thought it was high time that the Tasmanian health system received the shellacking it richly deserved, but I got sidetracked and it slipped my mind.
The sudden bout of attention deficit disorder viz a viz Tasmanian doctors was bought on by the shock of discovering just how much a week in Melbourne was going to cost.
I was puzzled at this, because there clearly aren’t enough people in the world rich enough to fill hotel rooms at the extortionate rates on offer, until it dawned on me: the Australia Day long weekend and the Australian Open tennis.
Of course! What better time for Australian hotel proprietors to fleece their fellow Australians than when they flock to town to cheer on their sporting heroes and celebrate their national day?
(Just for the record. We are not among the deluded fools who think Lleyton Hewitt won’t crash out in the second round, pleading a sprained nasal hair, nor that Bernard Tomic won’t spontaneously combust after checking himself out one too many times in his pocket mirror.)
After the initial shock, I reflected on the alternative and paid over the king’s ransom demanded to secure accommodation within walking distance of the hospital with nary a murmur.
Why? Because the alternative was to submit to the tender mercies of a Tasmanian health system which based its patient care model on the Black Hole of Calcutta patient care diaries.
We were prepared to sell the children for scientific experiments so we could go private in Tasmania, but inquiries revealed that the only two surgeons who purportedly provided the services required had either earned enough money to last them until 2063 or had retired to deal with the psychological issues that had bought them to Tasmania in the first place.
There remained a lingering doubt about incurring the extra expense involved in travelling interstate for medicinal succour, but a radio news report on the very day I was writing my previous post sealed the deal.

“Nursing unions have blamed massive budget cuts for falling standards of patient care in Tasmanian hospitals. It has been revealed that patients are waking up from surgery with infections or things left inside them.
“The Health Department says that there has been an increase in the number of adverse events of more than 100 in the 12 months between late 2012 and late 2013.”

What the fuck?

Surgeon: “Nurse! Have you seen my sand-wedge anywhere?”
Nurse: “Only yesterday sir. You were practicing your bunker shots when you       took a break from operating on Mr No-Account-Normal-Person.”
Surgeon: “That’s right. My lay up landed on his lower intestine and I took a drop on his bowel. Do you know something? I think that swine stole my club!”
Nurse: “I wouldn’t know sir. The budget cuts have affected my eyesight.”
Surgeon: “I won’t have this sort of behaviour.” (Searches pockets for mobile phone. Can’t find it. Presses intercom button: “Millie? Get Nigel for me.”)
Surgeon: “Nigel! Look, do you have a spare sand-wedge I can borrow? Mine has been stolen. You do? Excellent. So we are still on for this afternoon then? Fine. See you at 2.”
Nurse: “Do you want me to get in touch with the police and have Mr No-Account-Normal-Person charged?”
Surgeon: “What? No, don’t bother, the insurance claim will be a bitch. Tell Millie to add $500 to his bill for the club and another $500 to compensate for the ribbing I’ll get from Nigel. She can put it under ‘anaesthetist’ – he still owes me $500 from our Bridge night.”

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the Tasmanian Health Department admitted that “adverse events increased by more than 100 in the last 12 months”. How the fuck many were there to start with?
(Also, if nursing unions think their members are worth so much, why didn’t the nurses notice that half the surgical instruments, two rubber gloves and a mobile phone were missing after the patient had been stitched up?)
I have spent most of my life on the North Island and, to be fair to Tasmanian medicos, I admit that doctors have never been my favourite people.
I’m not sure why that is, but it may be something to do with that fact that the majority of doctors seem to suffer from I’m-A-Doctor-Which-Means-I’m-A-Lot-Smarter-Than-You syndrome.
Take dentists. It is well known that dentists wear face-masks so patients don’t recognise them in the street and giving them the filling-in (so to speak) they deserve. Doctors/surgeons wear face masks so they don’t catch germs from the scum prols they are forced to deal with, a crucial difference.

Thankfully, Tasmanian GP's here have a quota system. Once they've reached peak Medicare rebate income, they don't see any new patients. I've been on a waiting list just to get on the list for three years. Long may it continue. 

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