Friday, 21 September 2007

Hey, Mr duck, giz a bite of yer sandwich!

posted by Dr. Thunder

So, week number 1 down. New Zealand is great. Weird great, but great nonetheless. We're short staffed. Nothing new there. We have 4 registrars at the minute. We should have 7. Bummer, you'd think. That's me doing a 1 in 4, you'd think.

But no.

Here, when there's a shortage of staff they do the following.

1) They ask if anyone fancies a few extra quid doing extra shifts

2) If that doesn't work they try to find a locum

3) If that doesn't work, the consultants do the shift!!!!

So, my consultant is on nights this weekend, because we don't have a reg. That, I must say is a culture shock.

I have less patients than I had in the UK, and by and large they're less sick.

That is, except for the Maori population.....

They get REALLY sick.

I thought deprivation was as bad as it gets when I worked in Glasgow. But last night I saw a 14 month old girl. She lives in a small house with 15 other relatives!!! She was covered in boils. She has a skin infection. She had a shocking mouth and gum infection. She also has bilateral ear infections, and both ears are bleeding.

This was the first patient I saw in my first out of hours shift.

I have seen dehydrated kids before, but this was a particularly sad story. This little girl was in so much pain, she simply couldn't eat or drink. End of story. She was so thirsty, she desperately tried drinking the bath water before she came to hospital. She was literally trying to lap up the the soapy water like a cat laps up milk (I don't think she gets a lot of baths, but like so many people, she had to have a bath before she saw the doctor!). Also, there are wild ducks where she lives. Yesterday she was chasing them to try and get her hands on the pieces of stale bread they'd scavenged from her back yard. She succeeded in one case. Thankfully, she was in too much pain to eat it!

Anyway, we put a nasogastric tube don her nose and into her tummy, and gave her lots of milk overnight. We also gave her painkillers down the tube. So, she's a lot happier now.

They also "nurse" on this side of the world. There is one dickhead who wanders about with a power-suit and a clipboard, but like most (insert word) specialist practitioners, we don't know what she does. But the important this is that she keeps out of my way. There are more nurses here than I've ever seen in my life. The nurse:patient rations are good, and the nurses themselves are good. Certainly my hospital is an example of how basic nursing done well is as important as any other role int he hospital.

So, so far so good. No disasters yet. I've a few complicated patients on the ward. But, I have time to think about them. I feel like I give better care here then I do back home, where I'm always under horrendous pressure.

Plus the weather here is better than back home.

Anyway, I'll sign off. I'm off to enjoy my weekend.


  1. If you're not careful, you will have all those MTAS refugees applying to your hospital. I would love a nursing job (except I am no longer physically fir for nursing, and I am 66 to boot! :-)


  2. Yay! I can't wait to start work in NZ! sounds brill! that story about the little Maori girl brought a tear to my eye tho :(

  3. All sounds good! Except of course for that little Maori child. Poor kid!

    It's great to hear that the system in NZ facilitates Docs to give better care to their patients. Such a contrast to the demoralisation of staff in the UK and Ireland.

    Dr Thunder may soon even have to change his name!

  4. Dr Thunder - where art thou? Have been waiting patiently for another dose of 'belly buckkon' treatment! Come back soon - we're missing you!