Saturday night in A&E and complexity…. A good match?

June 8, 2009

Sorry for the silence at the week end…. It was actually a quite difficult week-end as my son (who has epilepsy) had a seizure on Saturday afternoon, which lasted a quite long time and we ended up in hospital until 11 pm. As they wanted to ensure that he was OK give the length of the seizure… Now he is OK.

Unfortunately we have been in E&A department several times over the past few years… and I have come to the conclusion that the E&A doctors are a very interesting category. When you end up in A&E (specially with something acute), first the medical staff will stabilize you. I guess this is a difficult but standard procedure (I guess they monitor basic biological functions to ensure that everything is OK, and if is not, they use drugs). Then start the investigation work to understand the causes (or relationships I guess). It is also a very interesting context as the patient or the relatives of the patients (at least I do) actually want answers (preferably reassuring ones) quick. And the doctors need to try to give you an answer, understanding the context, but not necessarily understand the history (when they walk in the room the first time).
I remember last year, when my wife had a lung problems (another week-end in the hospital), we had a student coming in (I suspect it was part of his training), and my feeling were, I really do not want you to train on my loved ones… Just go away and play with your ball (I did not feel that friendly, I must admit) !!! But then it is clear that they need to be trained to deal with such complex situation (and you would hope they are properly supervised)!! You cannot just read a book about this… The medical profession must be an ideal test bed for complexity ideas….

Has any of you worked with HNS or its equivalent? I would be very curious to know what has been done.


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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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