Junior doctors need better support
Sir, – I recall numerous medical emergency situations during my intern year where I was left inappropriately alone and feeling exposed and scared, finding it difficult to get any kind of senior help. One week I was a medical student, a few weeks later I was left with a semi-conscious, extremely unstable patient who was both vomiting up blood and passing blood from the back passage, and with a lovely old man who had critically low blood pressure and who was having a heart attack. These experiences left me feeling shook, upset and defeated but, more importantly, they resulted in adverse outcomes for patients.
Western Australia has a MET (medical emergency team) system, which allows a team of medical registrars, intensive-care specialists and anaesthetists to be assembled immediately, in any emergency scenario during which we feel we need prompt senior advice and support. As a result of this, a whole group of doctors together instigate timely and thorough treatment and many lives are saved.
Ireland needs to get its act together and start drawing lessons from the other healthcare systems. Both junior doctors and patients are persistently being put at risk, and it is just unacceptable. – Yours, etc,
Senior House Officer,
Fiona Stanley Hospital,
Perth, Western Australia .