December 12th, 2009


Happy Ending?

Okay, a little background is necessary for this one. I work in Information Systems for a hospital that employs around 4000 employees. At night, I run backups on the mainframe and some server systems, answer help desk calls, and I go out and fix computers, printers, scanners, and fax machines that go down. 48 hours of my 80 hour work week, I am the only Information Systems employee here, requiring me to be a jack of all trades at times. Another department handles Biomedical equipment, and in an emergency, I can call them out. Technically, I am not supposed to touch their equipment, as it doesn't belong to our department. I usually do fix a lot of it, as most of it isn't that different than the systems on any other network.

I come into work and due to problems with the mainframe and some interface issues, we are literally a day behind on backups and maintenance. This is a big deal, because we do updates for things like medical records, employees being able to clock in and out, financial charges, and just about everything in between. We have literally around a hundred server systems. I make a pot of coffee and settle in to do a steady grind for twelve hours.

I am about an hour into it, and I get a call about the telemetry monitors going down in the telemetry ward. Telemetry, for those who don't know, is where they treat patients with heart problems. For simplification, I am going to call the lady $nurse. The conversation went something like this:

$nurse: The telemetry monitors went out on rooms (I don't remember the range)

Me: Okay, I will have to call the Biomedical department out from home to come look at it.

$nurse: Alright.

I call out the guy, and he calls the floor to tell them it's going to take him about two hours to get there. He lives in a pretty remote/rural area, and it's the middle of the night. I am getting this guy out of bed, and they technically have a two hour window to come in to fix a problem. The nurse calls me back:

$nurse: called and said that it will be about two hours until he can get here to look at these, can you come up and check on them?

Me: No. We are almost 24 hours behind on mainframe backups and maintenance. During this time, I can't leave the floor.

$nurse: Isn't there somebody else here who can look at it?

Me: No, I am covering 6PM until 6AM alone today and we are very behind. There is nobody from Biomedical here tonight, and I am not allowed to leave the floor when we are grinding like this.

$nurse: What the hell are we supposed to do with our telemetry monitors down until he gets here?

Me: Check on the patients more frequently.

$nurse: What is your name and your supervisor's name?

Me: *Insert Full Name and Manager's Name*

$nurse: Thanks for nothing. *click*

**NOTE** These are not critical cardiac patients, so it's not like them going out in Intensive Care or Critical Care. They just need to be checked a little more regularly, is all. They have plenty of staff members to do this, they just don't like to.

She then proceeds to call the nursing supervisor, who is basically God of the hospital at night. She calls me to find out what's going on, and I tell her. She understands that it's not our equipment, not my responsiblity, and she tells $nurse. $nurse then proceeds to report me for "shirking my duties" to my manager and the Biomed manager. My manager curtly explains that it's not our responsibility.

The irony is that the manager of the department that does handle the heart monitors is very territorial, and he doesn't like for Information Systems to work on their equipment. I got a call on my next shift telling me politely not to work on their equipment. A couple of months later, I get a call from the same nurse with another problem with the telemetry monitors. The conversation went something like this:

$nurse: The telemetry monitors for rooms are down. Can you come look at them?

Me: No, I will have to call out Biomedical.

$nurse: Why can't you come look at them?

Me: Because, the last time I had to call out Biomed you reported me to my manager and the manager of the department whose equipment that is. I used to fix them as a courtesy to you guys to make your job easier, but since you reported me, the manager of Biomedical has strictly forbidden any Information Systems employees to work on their equipment. I am not willing to risk losing my job for a courtesy, so you will have to wait up to the two hour window for someone to come in every time something happens with them after hours and on weekends now.

$nurse: *sputtering unintelligably* *hangs up*

I don't often get to deliver a verbal boot to the head like that without risking being way out of line, but she kind of put her foot in her own mouth. Needless to say, I was in a good mood for the rest of my shift.
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