A Day in the life of healthcare professionals

Part of our series
A Day in the life of healthcare professionals

A typical day in the life of a biomed engineer at a 500 bed hospital in the Middle East

By Kashif Amar Rai ( ISEThealthcare.com )

I arrive at the hospital and start on a routine maintenance of ECG, ultrasound, defibrillator machines and recalibrating a ventilator.

a-saudi-biomedical-engineerI’m interrupted by an emergency page by a nurse in ICU that a ventilator isn’t working properly. Worse, the hospital’s other ventilators are all in use. I race in to check the machine’s components and find that the problem is not with the ventilator at all but with the humidifier. In fact it is damaged filter on the humidifier which is leaking and causing a pressure leak alarm on the ventilator. Once the problem is diagnosed I replace the filter. Both the patient and the nurse are relieved. Now the nurse can put away the Ambu bag and put the patient back on the ventilator.

I am happy that my next task is to help the manufacturer’s field engineer install our hospital’s new anaesthesia machines. We all get excited with anticipation when new equipment comes as we get the chance to see new machines and learn about them.

We have done the routine safety checks such as current leakage, tagged them with property control number and are now with the company engineer taking them to the theatre to install the machines when I get a page from an NICU nurse.

Apparently the cardiac monitor is alarming too often and printing as well on alarm and this is disturbing the patient, a baby 3 months old, and her mother. I show the nurse how to reset the alarms while few others and the mother look on. Some of the alarm setting is programmed to be done by the Biomed engineers only. I leave the unit with a happy baby, her mother, and caring nurse, saving the hospital money on paper.

I feel that I’ve done a good morning’s work and decide to go for lunch with my colleague when he gets a bleep and has to go off. So I end up eating on my own! My wife calls on the mobile and tells me that our washing machine is playing up. I say to myself that either the machine/wife (kidding only !!) or the maid needs replacing as this is about 5th time this month our washing machine has broken down.

Just after lunch I resume my daily work routine, I get a call from surgery that our new theatre table does not lift the patient in the OR. I rush to the theatre room, get changed, check the table and find the battery is dead. So I replace it from the battery in the other table in the adjoining room which is not being used at present.

I feel happy that I’m doing a good job and solving real problems. I want to give myself a reward, so rather than going back to the routine maintenance I started my day with. I find that the probe on the ultrasound is damaged beyond repair. It looks as if it might have been dropped.

This does not seem like an urgent case. I discuss the issue with my boss and file a report to call the manufacturer’s engineer tomorrow. I also file a request form for the battery for the OR table. It was such a busy day today that I missed the Asr prayer. But it was a good day’s and very satisfying work. I decide to go home. I walk up to car park. It is 5.30PM and the temperature outside must be about 42 degrees Centigrade and inside my car over 60. Any way I get into the car and start the engine soon it is cooling with AC as I drive home thinking about how to fix the washing machine.