When I started in practice in Victoria many years ago, each day I made a point of visiting those patients in hospital on whom I had operated, until they were discharged. After some years I made an arrangement with three other gynecologists by which one of the four of us would cover the practices of the other three each weekend. The one on call would then visit the hospital patients of all four of us each day. Although there was usually little to do during these visits, I believe the patients appreciated them and knowing they had not been forgotten or abandoned.
My wife was recently in hospital with a fracture of the neck of the femur. This was appropriately treated by screw fixation 3 days later, the delay being due to a very busy weekend in the OR and other factors not the fault of the surgeon.
However, as far as I know, the surgeon did not visit her at all during the time she remained in the hospital—my wife certainly has no recollection of having been seen by him or any other of the surgeons in his group. The nursing care, so frequently castigated these days, was absolutely first class as was the attention of the physiotherapy staff. I can only presume that the surgeon was apprised of her progress by these members of the team.
I feel this is a sad reflection of lack of interest on the part of the medical profession, and gives an unfortunate impression to the public. In marked distinction was the fact that our family doctor (who was away at the time of this incident and only found out about it on the day of his return) went into the hospital at 8:15 p.m. to see her.
—H. Martin Gough, MD
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