Monday, January 9, 2017

Casual racism

So a mother brings her kid in to the ER last night for a fever and cough x4 days.

As per usual, the kid was bundled up in far too many layers and the last dose of tylenol had been at least 12 hours before. The fever of 103.4 was promptly medicated by the nurse in triage, and then the tech walked the mom and kid back to my treatment room. She dropped them off and came out to let me know the patient had arrived, and dropped the phrase "of course the kid has a fever, he's wrapped in all those stupid blankets and Pakistani shit."

First of all, you asshole, the mother was Burmese. You would know that if you had bothered to ask what language she spoke. Second, you assuming she didn't speak English doesn't give you the right to talk at her instead of to her. Third thing, so what if she was from Pakistan? Or India? Or Canada? Who the fuck cares? Last, please find out why she didn't give tylenol before you talk trash.

For the record, the mother spoke passable English - enough that I needed a translator for discharge instructions, but could communicate in English to offer her water or tell her we needed to recheck a rectal temperature on the kid. Thus I had to apologize for the shitty behavior of a tech, because the mother overheard everything and could understand the casual racism being doled out. The kid ended up having pneumonia, so the zyrtec and tylenol her pediatrician had given earlier in the week won't help that. Last dose of tylenol was given so long ago because the dad accidentally took the bag with meds to work with him, and the kid was bundled up because it was really fucking cold outside AND THEY WALKED TO THE ER.

For fuck's sake, this makes me mad.

I'm guilty of being irritated when people don't medicate their kids, or show up for incredibly minor complaints. But there's a big difference between irritation at lazy/apathetic parenting vs people in a tough spot doing the best they can. And also I try not to be a racist asshole.


Candi said...

Yep, deal with it quite a bit. The other day my medical director actually said that the place that he used to work used to call black people Canadians so people wouldn't think they were racist. WTF? How does being black even correlate to being Canadian? Idiot...

Shash said...

I do hope you reported the comment the tech made and that the patient's mother overheard her. That crap is inexcusable. Even if the tech is narrow, lacking in brain cells, and racist, she never should have said what she did. Let the world wonder if you're aa asshat, oh tech person, rather than open your mouth and prove it.

I'm glad the mother knew how to get help for her child.

This reminds me of the time that a very young HR person complained to me about the smell of our Indian contractors. (They smelled like spices and neem oil.) I explained the scents she was unused to and then pointed out her that the Indians think we smell odd too. You could watch the dawning of light move across her face as she put the shoe on the other foot. Ignorance fought!

Aesop said...

I've got no use for racism.

Nor stupidity.

So we should also stop mollycoddling the "cultural diversity" nonsense by acting like people from Not Here can't grasp that wrapping their febrile baby in 47 layers plus Reynolds Wrap, and not medicating them for fever for hours is just spiffy. That's not diversity, it's child abuse. It's also the soft racism of low expectations. They can plead stupidity and ignorance as an exculpatory excuse in court.

Your tech was indeed out of line, but has probably only seen 5000 other exceptions to prove that rule. But this is why patient education is a nursing function, not a tech function.

Not lipping off one's observations in front of people, however, is pretty much every job everywhere, forever. Nip that shit in the bud.

's what blogs are for.