Monday, August 14, 2006

A Good GP

I hate to say it, but it's not very often we come across a good GP. Usually, we turn up at a surgery for a patient with chest pain to find the patient sitting in the waiting room looking rather unwell. This irks me. If a GP is concerned enough to call us for a possible heart attack, then the last place they should be putting the patient is in the waiting room, unsupervised, without giving anything for the pain or putting them on oxygen.

But this call was different.

I was doing a shift on the car. The call was at a doctor's surgery and was given as chest pain, and as I was just up the road from the call when I got it, I was on scene within 2 minutes. This was a brand spanking new surgery, the practice having moved into their new building from a couple of streets away. A receptionist was waiting at the door for me when I arrived and lead me through to the consulting room. Having a receptionist waiting for us never normally happens so that was my first pleasant surprise. I told her that the ambulance crew would be here shortly, so she went back to the door to wait for them.

The doctor introduced me to Dave, who had come to see her about another matter. Whilst in the waiting room, a receptionist had noticed that he'd become very pale and was holding a hand to his chest. The doctor had seen him straight away, and instructed the receptionist to call us.

By the time I'd arrived, the doctor had Dave on oxygen, laid him on the examination couch, had taken all his obs except his blood sugar level, including pulse, blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, and respiration rate, and she had given him aspirin and GTN to help alleviate the pain. She had even found time to print off Dave's details for me, including his medical history.

I did a blood sugar reading, which showed his sugar level was slightly high - which could indicate a cardiac problem if associated with chest pain, and while we waited for the ambulance, the doctor put a cannula in Dave's arm and took bloods ready for the crew to take with them.

The only other thing she hadn't done was a 12-lead ECG which would have allowed us to look for signs of a heart attack - and for this she apologised profusely, explaining that it was all going to be linked in to the computer system but this hadn't been completed yet, otherwise the ecg would have been waiting for me when I got there.

The crew arrived and took Dave to the ambulance. They too were suitably impressed at how much the GP had done. Their 12-lead showed that Dave was indeed having a heart attack. The GP had said that she'd spoken to the nearest A&E and that they were expecting him, but we wanted to take Dave to another hospital where we could directly admit him for Primary Angioplasty, a procedure to re-open the blocked artery in his heart. I explained this to the GP, and she readily agreed this was by far the more appropriate option. She said she would inform the nearest A&E of the change of plan.

Since then, it's been back to the usual of finding chest pain patients in the waiting room, and once even turning up at a surgery to be told that the patient had been told to walk home to get his things together.

But I know if I have to go back to the new surgery for a patient, they will have received the best possible care, which will still be ongoing when I arrive. My faith, in part, has been restored.


Blogger rob said...

Can you send this GP over to us please. We could sure use her! I get so mad when I find sick patients shoved back out into a busy waiting room so the GP can get on with seeing the next patient. I've had to go banging on doors, trying to find the GP to get a handover. I always tell people to find a new GP when stuff like this happens. Every now and then I do see a quality, caring and capable GP and my faith is briefly restored. Good to hear there are a few out there.

1:20 am  
Anonymous kathybumblebee said...

Certainly makes a change. I wish we had GP's in our area like that! Its good to know they do exist... maybe one day I'll get to meet one.

1:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a massive problem in the system I work at here in the US as well. We have alot of general/family practice Doctor's offices and nursing/assisted living homes in our area with more popping up in the near future. It's incredible how these people who operate at a higher level do absolutely nothing for their patients. I would never send a family member to a nursing home because if you fall and hit your head you're liable to be laying there bleeding to death for hours before someone checks up on you. I have seen this happen. Anyway, it's nice to know there are people out there who will actually help you do your job.

4:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for her - a letter to her commanding officer needs to be written I think - Tom.

8:32 pm  

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