Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This....or That

Allow me to assist you in navigating the murky waters of the emergency department.  We will bend over backwards to give you the best possible care.  Truthfully, though, you need to be mindful that the best care may not be exactly what you want or what your friends think you should have; you may not necessarily have it Your Way just because you ask for it or demand it.  Know that we are reasonable people and put on happy, smiley faces but don't do well when people are unreasonable or taking advantage.  Rudeness doesn't help either, and we spend an inordinate amount of time squirrel wrangling.  Or haggling.

What the patient wants:  narcotics
What the patient expects: to call and ask to speak to Dr. No-narcs, thus ascertaining whether or not he should come in or wait for another day.  Better yet, ask to speak to Dr. Santa Claus to ask a question, or ask to speak to any doctor for advice.
What actually occurs:  No name shall pass my ruby red lips.  I stonewall, hedge, hinder, thwart, oppose, hamper, block, resist, oppose or impede any efforts on the patient's behalf to get the information.  Over my cold, dead body.  I'm really good at rebuffs, too.

What the patient wants: weekend off
What the patient expects: that we will write a work excuse for an injury that occurred two weeks ago and wasn't even worthy of 1/2 day off then.
What actually occurs:  come in for an exam.  It's been two weeks, at most you will get a note giving the day of your visit.

What the patient wants: an ER visit that takes 10 minutes because she has to pick up her kids
What the patient expects: that her oh-so-minor complaint such as poison ivy deserves top priority and to be attended to ahead of chest pain, abdominal pain and head injuries because it "only takes a few seconds" to examine, treat, and write her a prescription.
What actually occurs:  I waste 10 minutes of my life that I will never get back triaging and then explaining that her ass will be in the waiting room about an hour, so she leaves in a huff without being seen.

What the patient wants: whatever Dr. Google, Dr. Oz, or Dr. As Seen on TV prescribes
What the patient expects: magic cure
What actually occurs:  the mindless fuck doodles informed health care consumer argues with the ER doc for 10 minutes of his/her life that he/she will never get back about how antibiotics DO work for viruses every time.

What the patient wants:  improving his odds of early demise from worsening obesity, diabetes, COPD and heart disease after a lifetime of non-compliance
What the patient expects: that there is a magic bullet that will extend his dismal life expectancy
What actually occurs:  There is not a whole hell of a lot we can fix in one ER visit.

What the patient wants: me to drop everything and call the pharmacy right away with your prescription for foot fungus
What the patient expects: to pick up it up in under 5 minutes so she won't be inconvenienced
What actually happens: you have been a rude pain in my ass from the moment you hit the door, so I phone in your prescription at 5:05 PM, leaving it on the recorded line.  The pharmacist picks those messages up every hour on the hour.  Buh-bye.