Friday, March 10, 2006

Why I Use Brass Knuckles At Work

This comes from a recent LTTE in our locally renowned and ever-useful ink-smeared forest by-product:

"Three years ago, I worked a whopping nine days at two Valley hospitals before I quit for greener pastures. What I saw was two ERs filled with people with the sniffles, sunburn, minor headaches, paper cuts, watery eyes, etc."

No doubt.

I am certain of this not because I myself work in an emergency room flooded by uninsured people who have no other outlet to which they can go with their minor and often non-existent medical issues. My certaintly comes from my experience with such people who manage to actually get fully admitted to my particular work area.

People may be uninsured and deranged, manipulative, a bit stupid, and desparate. But after a couple-few emergency room visits, some will learn that if they exaggerate or outright fake some symptoms, they are in and a heavenload of nitroglycerin, morphine injections, lab draws, X-rays, stress tests and if they really hit pay dirt, a trip to the cardiac catheterization lab await them, luminous in full glory like Saint Peter's gates. And there is our three-star cuisine, of course.

The sugar-free apple pie is very popular.

Finally a day or two later some sympathetic but discerning cardiologist will rub a knuckle on the patient's sternum, note the outcry, write in their sign-off note that the chest pain is "atypical and reproducible," and the hospitalist sends the patient home, if they should happen to have one.

But the next time the patient shows up at the emergency room complaining of severe chest pain that goes down their arm, the knuckle-on-the-sternum trick earns nothing. Because now they know.


Anonymous said...


Nurse Mia said...

Hmmm... Sounds frustrating. I work in a large, research-oriented hospital, so we rarely see these types - getting instead the most-bizarre from all of the hospitals within our state.

Lizzy said...

Waving to you Shrimplate...I have been occupied with caring for my mom while she had radiation, you probably can figure out why.

hope all is well.

Eli Blake said...

Interesting bit of knowledge.

If someone ever says they think they're having a heart attack, I can check that way to see if they are really having one? Or does that only work for certain kinds of heart attacks?