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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

You Know You've Been Admitted Too Many Times When …

… your conversation with the admitting clerk goes like this: “You’re going to be admitted to Room 201B.” “I don’t want to go to 201B.” “Why?” “The faucet in the bathroom drips and cold air leaks around the window. Can’t I have like 216 or 217 instead?” “Those are private rooms. There’s an extra charge for those.” “How about telemetry? Those rooms are OK.” “Those are also private rooms. You have stomach pain. There is no medical need for telemetry. ...

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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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Blown Away

By Birdstrike MD I was a work today and I was given this message, “ —–‘s husband called and wants you to call back right away!  He sounded very upset.  His wife died.” Uh-oh, I thought to myself, this is never good.  It was a patient I remembered well, that I had seen repeatedly for a chronic problem, and who always came with her husband.  We seemed to get along well.  I didn’t recall any conflict, unpleasant interactions or any ...

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Memorable Patients

In my medical career, there have been a handful of patients that I remember well. Like frames on a storyboard, when I think back upon the tens of thousands of patients I have treated, these patients always seem to come to mind. Perhaps as a precursor of things to come, I even wrote stories about some of them early in my career when I saw them. I remember the first time that I drew blood on an elderly patient and ...

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