Craic & Codology

Doctor in the House

Doctor in the House

It’s another busy morning in the Eoin O’Duffy Memorial Infirmary, aka Blueshirt General, but hospital Master Leo Varadkar somehow finds time to record his weekly promotional video.

Varadkar (to camera): …and finally, as you all know, it’s Halloween. I haven’t heard what costume Paschal Donohoe will be wearing yet. Something scary I’m sure. But I’m looking forward to that. In the meantime, happy bank holiday everybody. I’ll see you next week.

Director: And cut! That’s a wrap.

Press officer: One take, every time – you’re such a natural, Taoiseach. Excellent ad-lib about Paschal, by the way. Speaking of which, he asked you to drop by his ward later: he has one of those banker patients he needs your opinion on.

Varadkar: Will do. First I have to inspect our new children’s wing – or should I say “Phoenix Children’s Health”? – with Nurse Zappone here.

Katherine Zappone: Thanks, Doctor. Yes, it’s important to use the correct name. Branding is everything these days. Love your Halloween costume. Bob the Builder, right?

Varadkar: What? Oh this? (He points to hard hat). I forgot I was wearing it. No, it’s not a costume. I’ve just been attending so many sod-turning ceremonies this week, I forgot I had it on. It’s surprisingly comfortable.

Zappone: I can imagine. The man-of-action look suits you.

Varadkar: I’ve been thinking: maybe the rest of the hospital needs a rebrand too. Are there any other mythical creatures we could name it after?

Zappone: What about Pegasus Health?

Varadkar: A winged horse, to represent the way we took a sick nation back in 2011 and miraculously restored it to health? Yes. Remind me to run that past the consultants next time they’re in.

Paschal Donohoe’s ward later. Dr Varadkar studies X-rays of a patient’s stomach.

Varadkar: Good lord. What is it?

Donohoe: It’s a giant pile of other people’s cash.

Varadkar: Another of these so-called tracker mortgage cases?

Donohoe: Yes. And I know we should probably extract it surgically without an anaesthetic. But for some reason, I’m reluctant to do that.

Varadkar (to patient): How are you feeling? Bloated? Racked with guilt?

Patient: Surprisingly good, actually. But then, I am a banker.

Varadkar (studying X-rays again): Yes, I see you had your conscience removed some years ago. (To Donohoe). Just keep him under observation for now, and add some laxative to his diet. Maybe we can get the money back naturally. Failing that, you can always come in with your Halloween costume and scare it out of him.

Donohue: Ha ha! I like your outfit, by the way. Bob the Builder right?

The A & E department, Halloween Night. A scene of controlled chaos, supervised by ward sister Regina Doherty.

Varadkar: My God, it’s even madder than usual.

Doherty: Yes. Some local scamps were so inspired by the symbolism of our new Phoenix Health unit, they lit a bonfire under it. But it’s mostly just minor burns, thank God.

Varadkar (noticing Luke Ming Flanagan being wheeled in on a trolley): What happened him?

Doherty: He was playing a prank on a journalist and it blew up in his face. We’re not sure we can save his beard. By the way, I love your costume. It’s Bertie Ahern, right?

Varadkar: What?

Doherty: The hard hat. Bertie was always wearing one during the Celtic Tiger years. Before the crash.

Varadkar (suddenly embarrassed, taking hat off and putting it away): Er, no. I just had it on for a photo-op earlier and forgot. Actually, I haven’t decided what I’m dressing up as yet. Maybe Dracula.

Doherty: Paschal beat you to that one, I’m afraid. Here he is.

Donohoe: Hi Leo, Hi Regina. Love the sexy nurse costume.

Doherty (frostily): It’s not a costume, Paschal. It’s my uniform.

Varadkar (to Donohoe): Ha, ha! Way to go, Harvey Weinstein.

Donohoe (blushing): Vewy sowwy, Regina. I didn’t mean it that way.

Varadkar: The blood transfusion unit is a funny touch, Paschal. You went all out with the Dracula theme.

Donohoe (lowering his voice): Actually, that’s not just an outfit. It’s why I’m in here tonight. You know how I was saying we’re very short of blood donations?

Varadkar: Er, yeah?

Donohoe: Well I’m planning to extract some from sleeping patients. I got the idea from that banker chap.

Varadkar: But is it ethical?

Donohoe: What patients don’t know won’t hurt them. And sure if they do notice, we can always return their deposits at some future time.

Varadkar (looking around furtively, and dropping voice to a whisper): Well, I suppose we do need the blood.

Donohoe: That’s my thinking. And if this works, who knows? (Cue sinister music and closing credits) Maybe we could do the same thing with organs.