Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today's "Reason For Your Visit"

When a patient checks in at our ER, they are asked to fill out a half-sheet of paper with name, phone, SSN, birth date, and "reason for your visit".

Whenever I work triage, I write down the interesting ones and have been building up a list.  Some are funny, some embarrassing, and some just tickle my warped sense of humor.  I try to give the benefit of the doubt.  I know that these people are hurting and just want to be seen, but it still makes me shake my head to see some of the things that patients can come up with.

Thus, my regular (as in whenever I feel like it) series, "Reason For Your Visit."  Please keep in mind that spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are copied directly from the original paper.

So let's get to today's Reason For Your Visit:

Medical Problems

Upon seeing this note, I immediately pushed this patient to the front of the triage line, as it is increasingly rare that patients coming to the ER have actual medical problems.  Take my patient a few months ago that rushed over to the ER after developing "a severe goiter in my neck and I couldn't breath or swallow anything."  You might think this patient presented in a tripod position with drool coming out of his mouth and a neck the size of a small country.  You might think I could look at his nailbeds and see the azure waters of the south pacific in those oxygen-starved parenichiums (paronychii?).  You would be wrong.  I actually found a very talkative and pleasant man with no breathing abnormalities and no distress whatsoever.  Capillary refill normal and intact, even pulses, no paresthesias and a GCS score of 187.

That is why when I see "Medical Problems" on the slip of paper, I know it must be serious.  Right?

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