Dr Sammy Batt-Rawden from 24 hours in A&E on curry and the importance of empathy

25.11.13 Categories: 24 Hours in A&E

Dr Sammy Batt-Rawden is a Junior Doctor and worked at King's College Hospital for Foundation Year 1.

What is your favourite thing about working in A&E and why?

The chance to save a life. There aren’t many other parts of medicine where you get such opportunities to actually lay your hands on a patient and make a tangible difference at such a pivotal moment to whether they live or die. Every day there is something that you haven’t seen before coming through the doors. It’s dynamic, fast paced, high pressure. An incredible challenge. It’s also a fantastic place to work; everyone pulls together and it makes for great team atmosphere.

What is the most unusual situation you’ve come across at work?

Perhaps when a car ramped up the curb outside A&E and this little old lady dragged her husband out of the passenger seat and onto the ground. It turned out they’d been driving past and he’d had a cardiac arrest. Luckily a group of paramedics saw this happen and we whisked him straight into resus where we were able to resuscitate him.

What’s the biggest external influence on the KCH A&E, and how does it affect it?

I think it has to be the knife crime in the area. I haven’t seen so much penetrating trauma anywhere else. Unfortunately a lot of our patients are teenagers.

How do you deal with difficult patients?

No-one ever expects to end up in A&E indeed, most of the time, these things really are an accident! Therefore when patients do pitch up they can be anything from terrified, to angry, to inconsolable. It’s easier to deal with if you remember why they are behaving the way they are: a lot of it stems from fear. Having said that, some people do seem to go out of their way just to wind you up. In that situation a time out, a deep breath, and a cup of tea seems to work for me.

What do you think is the key to being a good doctor or nurse?

A sense of humour. You really need to see the funny side of… almost everything. And of course compassion. The importance of empathy is underestimated; just a few extra seconds of kindness can make such a difference to someone’s care.

What are your interests outside work?

Outside of work? The precious time I get off I try and eat as much curry as I can get my hands on with the people I love - they know who they are!

What is your greatest ambition?

A big family and a cottage in the country to sneak back to after a hard day in the Emergency Department. I’ve also always wanted a pet duck.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?

I’d love to become a Helicopter Emergency Medicine (HEMs) doctor one day. The dream is to own one of those flying suits with my name on it! If not that, I’d like to own a zoo. Is that too much to ask?

Has featuring in 24 Hours in A&E changed anything for you?

Featuring in 24 Hours has really made me think about the way I interact with patients. And I’m glad for it.

Do you find colleagues and/or patients act differently around the cameras?

To be honest, everyone mostly just got on with it. There’s no time for anything else!

Who do you think has the hardest job at the hospital and why?

Junior doctors. Sorry, but true! It’s an incredible place to learn but a real baptism of fire. I wouldn’t change it for anything though.


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