As anyone who reads this blog knows, one of the more difficult aspects of my job is helping people deal with their finances. Finding ways to help people treat their pets while staying within their budgets is a crucial part of my job. It's something I do very frequently.
Yet sometimes I am faced with clients that have endless resources, and this can be just as difficult for me.
If you - as a human being - become ill and are admitted to the hospital, you will have a bevy of professionals taking care of you. This includes nurses, a specialist doctor for your particular problem, a hospitalist, a patient care advocate, and on and on. Your health insurance pays for this. Every patient gets some version of this model.
Now, say you come to the emergency clinic with your seriously ill or injured pet. You have all the money in the world to spend. You would expect that your pet will receive 100% of our attention. The problem? There are only a few of us to go around - 1 doctor and 2-3 techs in my case. We are serving multiple clients and pets with problems ranging from the mundane to the very, very serious.
Friday night, I was faced with several critically ill patients. All of them had owners willing and able to pay the expensive fees for aggressive treatment. The problem? I had 2 surgeries to conduct, as well as two circling the drain septic patients to deal with. I had 2 technicians to triage new patients, conduct bloodwork and xrays on new patients (and those in the hospital), and take care of the patients that were already in the hospital - a couple of which required significantly intensive care.
I wound up extremely frustrated with the situation. Trying to stretch my brain to manage the two septic patients (which are nightmares requiring careful monitoring of IV fluids, the additions of medications such as dopamine and the like to regulate blood pressure, and other intensive care) was draining enough. Then I was faced with the surgeries.
If I were an MD, I would be dealing with one aspect of these cases - the surgery perhaps, or the management of the septic patient.
As a veterinarian, I have to deal with them all. The limitation is obviously myself and my technicians. We can only do so much so fast. Mistakes get made when we try to handle too much. Further, I am still young in my career, and I still have a great deal of learning to do. This necessitates researching complex cases, which further takes time away from the actual care of my patients.
Sometimes, I wish I WAS an MD. I think my job would be simpler on some levels.
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