Patient Connection

Patient treatment differs from scenario to scenario as the circumstances of each incident or accident differs. On an ambulance you usually have a short amount of time to prepare for what is to be expected based upon a set amount of information; the problem comes in with the reliability of the information. A major advantage of this is the impartiality of the medic due to the fact that they don’t know the patient or victim. At a event standby the medic needs to get to and stabilise the patient within an extremely short space of time and allot of time with limited equipment and resources. Again there is a sense of disconnect from your patient because you don’t know them and will never see them again. These disconnect or impartiality could be an advantage or a disadvantage. Let me elaborate

There are times that you have to make decisions surrounding your patient. Decisions that may temporarily inflict more pain but result in pain relief long term. Decisions that the patient may not necessarily agree with. The advantage to not knowing the patient is that you don’t have any emotions clouding your better judgement. The disadvantage to knowing your patient is that you don’t have any emotions clouding your judgement at all.

So now there is a third position you could find yourself in. Here you are approached to join the OHS team as a first aider or a medic of company who employed you. Now obviously this is as an over and above to your current role and you have daily interactions with co-workers, managers etc who you build relations, and dare I say Friendships, with. Should one of these persons become ill or injured, would you be able to provide them with the best, not the friendliest, treatment you can without letting your emotions get in the way?

There is an old believe where you should not treat the ones you love. But there are times where treating a person you may have a connection with is unavoidable.

I was recently in this position where I had to render treatment to a co-worker of mine who I had to end up sending to the hospital. This is a prime example of my topic of discussion today and yesterday. Where and how do you draw the line between your emotions towards your patient being a patient or a stakeholder in your life?

I think with this there are a few questions that you would have to ask yourself to assist you in this.

1. Is what happening to them your fault? (most probably) NO

2. Can you feel their pain? NO

3. How much do you care about that person? (for the sake of this topic) Allot

4. Will you be worth more to this person as a Medic/First aider or a friend at this point?

I believe that if you can honestly answer these questions, especially question 4, your decision as to whether to treat the patient or hand them over to another medically trained person will be answered. If you feel that that patient will need you more as a friend then a medical officer then you best request someone else to do the treatment and then don’t interfere with that officer’s treatment or decisions. You cannot treat a patient with your heart; you have to use your head.

I’m in no means saying that you mustn’t have compassion towards a patient. On the contrary, you should treat them as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. But you must be able to know where the patient’s wellbeing should be placed in front of your feelings.

Over and out