On Call

Got a call at 11:30pm to help out in the ED. All the patients I saw had been waiting about 4 hours before getting a room. The triage nurse layed out the charts one ontop of the other like a card dealer would spread out a deck of cards in front of him. Each chart overlapped the other just enough so that only the chief complaints were showing. I picked up the first chart and within a few minutes, had a diagnosis, plan and disposition. That made me smile, but the patient, after waiting for four hours, wanted more from me. The problem was, I couldn’t figure otu what it was. I offered her pain medicine (do you want a shot or a pill?), muscle relaxers, all my magical potions and concoctions. But like a toddler who is well past his bedtime, she sobbed and yelled as I tried to sort out how in the world she could be helped. I was the last in a long string of physicians who had disappointed her, and somehow I don’t think anything I would have done could have cured her of her frustration.

The next patient came to our ED because she didn’t want to have to wait across town at the hospital she was just discharged from. Four hours later and she was really wishing she’d gone somewhere where the physicians knew her (and would have treated her better, I guess).

The next patient tried to limbo under his ATV. Unfortunately, an ATV falling on top of you after you flip is hard to escape from. He didn’t have any problems that a simple chest tube couldn’t solve. 😉

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