medicine · MS-3

Rules for patients

Every hospital should have a copy of these posted NICE AND BIG by the nurses’ stations. (Send the royalties to me, please!)

1. We apologize in advance for the crappy food. We know it sucks.
2. You will be getting blood drawn every morning. This is so that your doctors and nurses can monitor the course of your disease. Don’t refuse your AM labs; you might die. (True story! No one knew the patient had become anemic, and then his heart stopped.)
3. Please be aware that the lab and imaging are understaffed on weekends. It might be a few hours between the time your doctor orders a test and the time transport comes to pick you up. Read a book.
4. If you come into the ED with a runny nose, your wait will be approximately seventeen hours. Don’t whine when someone who comes in after you with an open compound fracture gets seen first.
5. We know when you’ve signed out against medical advice from other institutions. Don’t do it; it makes people suspicious of you.
6. Don’t lie about your history. We ask family to step out of the room for a reason.
7. PLEASE bring a list of your medications. Consider an implantable memory chip in your finger: bringing electronic medical records to a new level!
8. Don’t yell at the nurses, techs, or doctors. We are a fairly passive-aggressive bunch and are very good at “go slow.”

You know, having one day off in 15 is … kind of crappy. We ought to have student work hours, same as residents. It’s a good thing I enjoy medicine, because otherwise I would be truly miserable. Today, because one patient screaming her head off when I got her ABG, and another patient’s brother flipping out at me because the viral cultures hadn’t grown (sorry, I will go to the lab personally and tell the little viruses in their petri dishes to make sure and eat all their spinach!), and the third patient ACTIVELY DYING in front of me — today was somewhat less than ideal. Maybe tomorrow will be better. (I have been saying that every day since January 4.)

3 thoughts on “Rules for patients

  1. Sorry things have been so crappy…hope they improve. i just wish i were in med school…i know, i know…

    i have heard those blood gasses (sp?) are pretty painful…does your hospital give ladocaine or anything before the procedure…? i’ve never had one and creepy as it sounds. i almost w a n t to, so i can truly empathize….

    1. I think the use of lidocaine is up to the provider. The resident supervising me here doesn’t — he says the lidocaine injection (“pinch and burn”) is almost as painful as the stick itself. Personally I’d prefer to use it, but I don’t have the authority to go against him.

  2. Thank you for answering my question. By the way, i just loved what you wrote about the little virus’s and eating all their spinach…classic and sooo funny! 🙂

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