Seems my job definition just expanded.

The screaming was so loud that it brought me out of the room nearest the nurses' station with a "What the HELL?"

It was a toddler. I don't know jack about babies, except that they're generally wet at one end and loud at the other. This one was both. This one was open-mouthed, red-faced, screaming its little head off, in the arms of my flummoxed-looking coworker. He (the toddler, not my coworker) seemed to be about walking age, maybe a little younger; a cute kid, aside from that awful noise.

So we took him into one of the larger storage rooms and proceeded to play games like "What's on my head?" and "Can we shut you up with cookies?" Coworker dealt with the diaper while I went back to being a nurse.

After thirty minutes of nonstop hollering (poor kid was really upset), the child's father came back to get him. The child's father is an attending physician--not on the neurocritical care service, thank God--and had come in for morning rounds. His wife was out of town. Apparently babysitters do not exist.

Except in the neurocritical care unit! This is the fourth time in as many weeks that a male, attending physician has brought one or more children with him and left said child(ren) in our care for anything up to an hour. One dude dumped his kids off in the nurses' station break room around lunchtime with hasty instructions to "feed them something and keep them entertained."

I can't even. There are so many things to unpack here that have to take them in list form:

1. It's flu season. Children are, it's generally recognized, moving receptacles of bugs.

2. Hospitals are notoriously dirty places. Kids put everything in their mouths. Bad combination.

3. Nurses are not babysitters. We have things to do, even on weekends.

4. Bitches do not, universally, love babies.

5. Can you imagine what would happen if a resident brought in his or her kids?

6. Oh, God, if a female resident or attending brought in her kids, she'd never live it down.

7. Kids are noisy. It's part of being a kid. Units where stimulation is kept to a minimum is not a place where kids can or should be noisy.

8. You are old and experienced enough to know better.

9. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, BRINGING YOUR KID TO ROUNDS? It's not like rounds are a sudden, unforseen emergency. They happen every day at a given time. You have time to prepare, to have a plan A and a plan B and even a plan C, should that be necessary.

Thankfully, the charge nurse of the other CCU that shares our floor said something to the doc. Had I opened my mouth, I would've blasted him to a cinder and salted the charcoal. Still, we wrote him up--the only concrete action we can take when a physician does something so inappropriate.

If this were just one physician, or just one service, it'd be easier to handle. Instead, it's different guys at different times, which means it's a part of the hospital culture. That'll be fun to address.

So, guys, if you're thinking that it's a slow Saturday at Sunnydale General, and that nobody'll mind watching your child for however long you need 'em to, just don't.

Just. Don't.