Diary of a Healthcare Spy

I snooped around all week and never got a whiff of what was going down in the transplant department. No email traffic. No dictation. Nothing. I didn’t even get any juice from my gossip network. If you want to know something, just ask the ladies in hospital environment services, they have the magical skill of being invisible.

I decided to grab lunch with my friend named Wanda, one of the navigators of the transplant program, but she never let on that there were problems. Then I heard my father’s Batman voice whisper, “It’s time to charge into that fiery building.”

So I went out and bought one of these:

Now, I know what you’re thinking — after that mystery patient fiasco — why would you go and do something like this? Yes, I agree that this could end in disaster, but I have to push back a little by saying that the mystery patient idea was a solid idea. It was the execution that fell apart. With this idea, I’ll just have to make sure I cover all the details, plan for contingencies, and never stray from the script. Besides, my mother used to say, “you won’t get the fruit if you don’t go out on a limb.”

Two days later when my audio recorder arrived, I tucked it into my purse and headed for work. I waited, and waited for the right time to sneak into his office and hide my little partner, but he never left — not even for lunch. It was almost like he knew what I was trying to do. Finally at three in the afternoon, he stepped out for a bathroom break. I quickly glided into the office, spying out the best place for the recorder, when I heard a voice behind me say, “What do you think you are doing?”

I dropped the recorder and the folder on the desk, and laughed nervously as I turned around. It was Dr. Collins. “You almost gave me a heart attack!”

He searched my face, looking for something. “Sorry, Annie, I have some confidential documents on my desk, and I need to ask you not to come in the office when I’m not here.”

“Ohhh. I’m sorry. I was just dropping off the minutes to the safety meeting.” I turned to clean up the paperwork and saw the recorder right there in the middle of the desk. My pulse kicked up and I hoped he couldn’t see the artery in my neck throbbing like beacon of guilt. I grabbed the papers and folder, and pushed the recorder between a plant and one of his family photos. As he approached his leather chair, I wondered if he saw what I did, and if the recorder was obscure enough. I collected the folder, and turned to leave.

“Aren’t you going to leave the minutes?”

“Oh, yes,” I said as I turned and smiled. “You really startled me.”