SharpenerQuin Parker

A nurse practitioner, who complained on her new blog about how a GP apparently misdiagnosed a patient, received rather more than she bargained for when she was cross-posted on the forum

‘Nurse Ratchet’ (sic), who says she "feels it’s time to redress the balance" and that doctors are complaining about the powers of nurses too much, said that the patient had been assessed as having all of the symptoms of bacterial meningitis and had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance. However, the GP who handled the case had mistaken a swollen neck for a stiff neck. In fact, the patient had quinsy.

"[The patient] was referred immediately, by a nurse, to the ENT doctors, who did their surgical thing and removed the pus without the need for drilling a ruddy great needle into his spine," she wrote, referring to the practice of giving meningitis patients lumbar punctures.

"Quinsy is indeed an emergency, but to be unable to have even done the most basic of examinations before getting all excited and calling the blue light boys….well."

Unfortunately, she touched a nerve among the online doctor community, who are well known for their suspicion of nurse practitioners. Two hours after Nurse Ratchet hit ‘Publish’, her blog was posted on the doctors-only forum. The comments started flooding in, criticising her for complaining that the patient was treated as an emergency.

Quality Street

"This is EXACTLY why Nurses should stick to cleaning up s*** and letting doctors do the diagnosing and treating, which is what they have been to medical school for. If you want to do it — go to medical school," was perhaps one of the less abusive comments.

"A fantastic blog that points out exactly why people are dying en masse of infections, bed sores, dehydration and starvation in what should be a first world health system," said another, also anonymous commenter.

"Wow! It’s bloody war here… I thought that everyone involved in the NHS, be they doctor, nurse or paramedic worked together in partnership and harmony," was a response from somebody who probably isn’t involved in the NHS.

"Crivvens I am never going to be seen by nurses or doctors again. You are all really horrible, both lots of you. I will stick to boiling up seaweed and invoking Spirits," said another.

When a small number of nurses waded into defend Nurse Ratchet, things became even messier. Accusations of nurses reading Bella and eating Quality Street abounded.

At time of publication, the nurse vs. doctor ding-dong is at a steadily rising 185 comments. Personally, we would rather not get involved, but readers who are confident that their firewalls aren’t tracking colourful swearwords can participate here. EHI has taken a copy just in case it all ‘disappears’.

Incidentally, the evil head nurse of the mental hospital in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Louise Fletcher’s portrayal of whom won her an Oscar, was called Nurse Ratched.

Nurse Ratchet – with a ‘t’ – was the cartoon parody of the above from Matt Groening’s Futurama. Is that a sign that the angry doctors have been had?


Nurse Ratchet (warning: language may not suitable for your workplace)