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Jane Bates: Patients need to keep their cool

As autumn approaches, Jane Bates recalls summer's struggle with patients wanting to keep the hospital cool during a heatwave

As autumn approaches, Jane Bates recalls summer's struggle with patients wanting to keep the hospital cool during a heatwave


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This is what it’s like to be a Walkers crisp, I thought, as I became so dehydrated I was unable to speak. My cheeks were glowing embers and I was gasping like a goldfish short of an aquarium.

Day after day I billowed around in scrubs of marquee proportions, perspiring like a horse who’d just won the 3:30 at Kempton Park. Yes, I’m talking about the heatwave.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every sizzling minute of our sensational summer, but some people did not. And most of them seemed to pitch up in our department.

That’s the funny thing about the British public – they seem to think we have superpowers. Parts of Europe were literally burning up, apocalyptic warnings about climate change filled the news, yet we were somehow expected to keep the ward at a bearable temperature.

Skulduggery with fans

‘Why is it so hot in here?’ people grumbled. ‘You should do something about it.’ One person even demanded, in a mildly threatening manner, that I lower the temperature because his wife was sweating unbearably.

Certainly, sir. I’ll just have a quick word with the sun. ‘Oi! You! Yes, you with the shiny face! Mrs Bloggs is having a hot flush, so can you turn yourself down a bit?’

The skulduggery with fans was shocking. We had cunningly placed them so that everyone could benefit just a little, but as soon as our backs were turned someone appropriated one for themselves, almost burying their face in the whirling blades. I shudder to imagine the Datix incident form had they moved a millimetre closer.

So no, dear patients, we have no control over the heat in the hospital when the temperature is tropical. So cool it, okay?


 Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire
 

 

 

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