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Voices Carry

Wisecracking doc that I work with recently had a little surprise.  He was walking down the hallway and saw a nurse escorting a mother and her overweight young daughter into a room. Daughter was holding her right eye.  When the patient’s registration was completed, he signed up for the patient, took a swig of coffee, and said “OK, looks like it’s time to go see what’s wrong with Honey Boo Boo‘s eye.”  A couple of the nurses chuckled and he ...

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Hurry Home

  First of all, I’m having blog withdrawals. Seriously. I wish I could make a living writing a blog. It would be my dream job to write blog posts and troll the internet. Maybe some day. So a quick story before I go to bed for another long day tomorrow. At one of the hospitals where I moonlight, many nursing homes refer patients to the emergency department for routine medical care. Stuff like “patient has a rash for a week” or ...

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One of many ambulance transfers included a 80-ish year old nursing home patient who was sent by the night staff at the nursing home because they were too busy he had mental status changes. When the patient arrived, he seemed OK to me. Awake, alert, smiling. Held a relatively normal conversation. Watching the news on television. He even grabbed the remote and muted the sound when I came into the room. Unfortunately when a patient gets sent from the nursing ...

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Patient Encounters


A patient comes in for evaluation of left flank pain. In her urine sample, the nurse finds a small brown pebble. Nurse, holding small plastic cup with stone inside: “Looks like I found what was causing your pain! That looks like a kidney stone!” Patient: “Well, maybe … but I do have a cat, you know.” Sometimes I wish that there were cameras in the rooms so that I could see my own confused looks.

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The “Unnecessary” Test

Here’s a real case submitted by a reader. A two year old child is brought into the department by her father, her mother, her grandmother, and her greatgrandmother. All were very concerned. The child was walking on a curb using her dad’s hand for support when she lost her balance and fell. Her dad didn’t catch her quickly enough and the child struck the side of her head. The mother said she saw the child’s head “bounce off the concrete”. ...

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Karma Victim

Sometimes karma works in strange ways. Parents bring their child in for evaluation of the child’s cough and runny nose. About the tenth such case of the day and no one wants to get their kids flu shots. The child’s dad is standing next to the bed holding the child’s hands and talking baby talk to the child – which is already grating on my nerves. “We dunna find out what’s wrong wif you.” “Sir, I’m going to need to ...

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Old School Cough Management

“I can’t stop coughing,” said the hacking patient. “I’ve tried Robitussin and Triaminic [hack hack]. They don’t help.” “I also saw my doctor [hack hack] and got a prescription for Tessalon. That didn’t help either [hack].” “I went back to my doctor and got a prescription for Cheratussin with codeine. That [hack] helped a little, but I’m out [hack hack]. I’m coughing so hard that I can’t sleep. Is there something [hack] stronger you can give me?” You’re in luck. ...

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